Labour Department no longer accepting new applications for work permits


The Labour Department has stopped issuing new work permits for non-nationals since many locals have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re already seeing increased numbers of persons registering at the One Stop Employment Centre and it is our expectation that with time you will have more persons seeking employment”, Labour Commissioner, Eltonia Anthony-Rojas said during a program on state media on Monday.

“We are actually not accepting new applications because of the unemployment situation that we are facing right now’, Anthony-Rojas said adding, however, the department will continue to examine the merits of issuing new permits.

She said because of the current situation “the expectation is persons who would normally not accept certain jobs will be inclined, in order to keep food on the table, to accept certain jobs”.

The Labour Commissioner said she anticipates a shifting in the employment dynamics where “areas in which traditionally we’ve even had work permits holders occupying, we will have a greater demand, for persons who do not require work permit, for those jobs.”

She said she believed this redistribution of jobs may lead to “some persons relocating, be it nationals relocating elsewhere, whether temporarily or permanently, or non-nationals relocating to other places as well”.

While the department is still accepting applications for work permit renewals, if the applicant has been laid off the employer must be “able to tell us that there is a reasonable expectation for the person to return to work”, Anthony-Rojas said.

She cautioned applicants should collect their work permits immediately after being notified of approval.

“Within a two week period and those work permits are not collected, we ask the employer to re-advertise the vacancy cause it may mean there may be a national available to fill that vacancy and so we are constantly pushing to see whether or not there are persons who do not require work permit and are willing to take up the job”, she explained.

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  1. What is the definition of new?

    Almost sounds like a sensible decision but the devil will be in the details and it may just be smoke and no fire.

  2. That is laughable. The fact is Antigua are entitled and simply not qualified enough, grossly un and under educated and have poor work ethics.They are costing the employers for time wasted. Even Labour Commissioner sounds unfit for the position with those utterances..

    • @Gaston Trump
      Are you a native born Antiguan? I don’t think so. Let me educate you. Most of the people applying for permits work in jobs that Antiguans do not want because of the low exploitation wages paid by the employers. You certainly don’t need much education for these jobs. Highly educated people would not leave their country to come to Antigua for these jobs.

      • What do you classify as “these jobs”?
        A job is a job as far as I’m concern. Only in the Caribbean people discriminate jobs.
        This world is not only made up of politicians, doctors, lawyers and the like.
        We need food, clothes, cleanliness, etc, etc…

      • I am not and do not want to be Antiguan born. Do not educate me on facts that I know. Most Antiguans work in the hotel industry because they are grossly uneducated and complacence. They refuse to invest in their education and take the easy way out. That is why they are made because some person come to Antigua do better at the jobs that you claim they do not want. They choose to work in the hotel industry and that is why Antigua has to prematurely reopen its borders and risk the life and safety of many.
        If there locals were highly educated then the country would not rely so heavily on tourism and at lease be self-sufficient to weather the COVID storm for 2 month. 2 months and the Government cannot pay salaries or even offer any type of stimulus. If Antiguans were soo highly educated why are these job still advertised on

  3. Let’s see something:
    When immigrants come to Antigua, they have to pay
    – 100 EC a month for extension. (PAID each three month 300 EC)
    – 550 EC Multi entrance Visa every year if you want to travel while you are living in the island
    – Work permit fee depending of the position, some are high like accountant 8800 ec yearly for non-caricom members..
    – Paid taxes.
    – Paid rent, bills, food, services locally..
    So when you give a work permit, you are not doing nothing wrong, that foreigners contribute more in taxes to the government that locals… Don’t judge easy, don’t talk about somethingthat you don’t go through. I’m not saying locals need to be priority, I’m just giving a point of view that foreign people have to paid lot lot of money in fee to Immigration and labour departments… And all the money have to be paid one time, not split payments..

    • Exactly my point with these brainless civil servants. I hope they get paid this month.

  4. This is just another direct attempt at blocking non nationals [ Jamaicans and Guyanese specifically] from getting jobs. How can you refuse to accept and sign a new work permit for an individual who is living here for over 7 years because they are changing jobs. What is that person to do? Pack up and leave? Then they want to be paid and be paid early. Where is the money coming from? Employment to non nationals helps to put money in the treasury too. What is Gaston to do shit salaries?

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