CARICOM seeks to implement full CSME this year

Full movement of skilled workers expected to create job opportunities in participating Member States.

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is seeking to fully implement the long-awaited Single Market and Economy (CSME) programme by the end of the first quarter of 2024.

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CSME is expected to create new job opportunities. (Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels)

If fully enacted, the programme could open the door for countless employment opportunities for citizens in all participating Member States.

CARICOM Secretary-General Dr. Carla Barnett made the revelation in her year-end message, in which she recounted the various efforts made by the body over the last year and provided a brief overview of the areas of focus for the coming months.

“As we enter 2024, the Secretariat will continue to diligently administer the community’s priorities of deepening economic integration and trade, strengthening foreign policy coordination and community relations and human and social development, sustainable development and regional security,” Barnett said.

“In particular, we are focused on efforts to implement the free movement of all CARICOM nationals within the community by March 2024 as determined by Heads of Government.”

She added, “CARICOM Member States made progress on programmes and policies agreed by Heads of Government, to positively impact the lives of the people of our Region.”

She also thanked governing bodies, partners in the private sector, labour organizations and civil society groups for their support in enacting such programmes.

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    CSME would allow free movement of skilled workers. (Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels)

    Full enactment of CSME has been long-discussed and eagerly awaited by governments and residents alike.

    The initiative proposes to allow the free movement of skilled workers across participating countries, allowing them to take advantage of work opportunities without the kind of restrictions other immigrant workers would face.

    However, as of this writing, only limited categories of skilled workers are eligible to take advantage of CSME, such as university graduates, nurses, teachers, athletes, managers, and others.

    Additionally, not all CARICOM Member States have agreed to sign onto the programme.

    The 12 CARICOM Member States who are participating in CSME, as of January 2024, are:

    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Barbados
    • Belize
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Guyana
    • Jamaica
    • St. Kitts and Nevis
    • Saint Lucia
    • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Suriname
    • Trinidad and Tobago

    CSME was first introduced in the late 1980s, but has had limited implementation since then. Earnest activity to fully enact it began in the early 2000s.

    Just recently, a cohort of teachers was dispatched to different CARICOM nations in a move towards full implementation, which could revolutionize labour and address related concerns across the region.

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