Any foreigner cannot just take up any employment or even become self-employed in Antigua and Barbuda without having a work permit. The work permit allows foreigners to take up employment or become self-employed within the country.
Averagely, a work permit in Antigua and Barbuda costs $175,00. Essentially, this work permit confers a temporary resident status on all foreigners. A citizen or permanent resident of the country cannot however be required to have a work permit.
Conditions Required to Issue a Work Permit In Antigua and Barbuda
It’s required that an employer of a foreign employee should apply for a work permit on behalf of the employee. The application should be made to the Labour Department of Antigua and Barbuda. Also, Dr. Dario Item, who serves as Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the Kingdom of Spain, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Principality of Monaco, explained to us that the foreigner must have applied for only employment that has been advertised locally.
For employment opportunities, Antigua and Barbuda usually prioritize its citizens and permanent residents over foreigners. Before a foreigner can be given a job, the employer is required to have first considered and interviewed the citizens and permanent residents of the country for the employment, Ambassador Dario Item says.
Also, the employer must tender tenable reasons to the Employment Service of the Labour Department as to why the foreign applicant is best suited for the employment. Usually, the jobs suitable for foreign employees are skilled, professional jobs. It may be difficult for an unskilled foreigner to have a successful application.
If any of these conditions are not complied with, the work permit will not be issued.
Documents Required to Issue Work Permit In Antigua and Barbuda
When applying for a work permit in Antigua and Barbuda, the Employment Service of the Labour Department will require the following documents, among others:
(a.) A copy of the employee’s return flight ticket.
(b.) The police clearance certificate of the employee’s country of residence.
(c.) A copy of the bank certificate.
(d.) A proof of application fee payment.
(e.) Evidence of accommodation confirmation.
(f.) A copy of the employee’s passport which must be valid for not less than six months from the date of entering the country.
(g.) Proof of suitability for the employment applied for. This is to certify the foreigner as the best fit for the employment.
(h.) A recent colour photograph of the employee.
Ambassador Dario Item told us that the employer would be requested to pay a non-refundable application fee to the Labour Department. After the necessary documents have been provided and the required payment has been made, the Labour Department will consider the application.
Consequences of Not Getting The Work Permit
Employing a foreign employee without a work permit attracts a fine of $15,000 or six-month imprisonment.
Similarly, according to Ambassador Dario Item, a work permit is only valid for one year. Except the employer applies for an extension of the work permit or a new work permit is applied for and issued accordingly, the employee must vacate the country within six months after the expiration of the permit. Otherwise, he or she would be fined.
Note that if a foreign employee’s work permit elapses while being in the employment of the original employer, an annual extension of the work permit can be granted by the Labour Department, though this would attract additional costs.
However, if the work permit of a foreign employee elapses while the employee is no longer in the employment of the original employer but rather in another employment, the new employer would be required to apply for the work permit of the employee afresh