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Do I Need a Work Permit to Work in Jamaica?

jamaica work permit application

Answered by Isreal, Associate Writer

Yes, a work permit is needed to work in Jamaica for non-citizens not covered under the Caribbean Community Free Movement Act 1997.

A non-citizen of Jamaica is anyone who cannot be placed in either of the following categories as stipulated by the Jamaican Nationality Act 2014:

  • Persons born in Jamaica
  • Persons of Jamaican descent (parentage) or adopted by a Jamaican
  • Persons married to Jamaicans who have applied for citizen status
  • Naturalized Jamaicans

The conditions for work within Jamaica by non-citizens are outlined in the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment Act 1964).

The Act states that non-commonwealth citizens must obtain work visas before entering Jamaica.

A work visa is obtained from the domicile country and is different from a work permit. A work permit is an authorization card which gives permission to a non-Jamaican to work in the country for a specified time.

The processing fee for the permit is 15,000 JMD non-refundable. Permit cost is classified by work category (nature of work) and duration.

This can be found on the Ministry of Labour and Social Security website entitled: New Fees.

The fee structure ranges from a low of $27,500 in the manufacturing industry for a three (3) months permit to $150,000 in construction for a twelve (12) months permit.

For more details visit: www.mlss website and then click on the tab

Contracted Foreigners Work Permits Application Process

Please note that the application is done through the employer with a cover letter outlining the following:

  • Reasons for application to work in Jamaica
  • Duration of contracted employment
  • Any effort to recruit a Jamaican national to fulfill the job being contracted to the foreigner
  • Two (2) certified passport sized photographs no more than six (6) months prior to the application

Self-Employed Foreigners Work Permits Application Process

Persons who are self-employed also need to submit a cover letter providing the following:

  1. The type of work to be undertaken (nature) and duration of proposed employment
  2. Certified copies of applicant’s credentials
  3. Curriculum vitae/resume`
  4. Police record
  5. Two (2) certified passport sized photographs taken no more than six (6) months prior to the application
  6. Proof of business registration:

    • Certified copy of Business Registration Certificate for unincorporated enterprises
    • Certified copy of Certificate of Incorporation and the Memorandum of Association for registered companies
    • Attached Tax Payer Registration Number (TRN) completed and signed by the applicant
    • Certified copies of pages from the applicant’s passport showing: proof of identity, passport number, date of issue and expiry, landing status in Jamaica and relevant visas where applicable.

Over-due Work Permit/Work Exemption Processing Stipulations

If a work permit is being submitted beyond thirty (30) days the deadline then support documents should be submitted:

  • Certified copies of proof of academic qualification
  • Letter of recommendation/reference letter from previous employer or evidence of the commercial/professional activity of the applicant abroad
  • NB. Where certified documents are not in English, then certified English translations need to be provided. This can be done by a Justice of the Peace/ Notary Public with a valid Commission or authorized staff of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in the presence of original documents
  • Curriculum vitae/resume` outlining the professional/business experience of the applicant
  • Police record which from the domicile country

The application processing for the work permit is approximately 4-6 weeks.

Work Permit Applications should be submitted to:

Work Permit Division
Ministry of Labour and Social Security
1F North Street, Kingston
Tel: 876-922-9500-12

Work Permit Exemption Application Processing

Persons who are exempted from the work permit under the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (exemption) regulation should go to the Ministry with their spouses with $15,0000 processing fee and the following documentation:

  • Birth certificate or citizen certificate of the spouse
  • Original and certified copy of the marriage certificate
  • Passport of the foreign spouse and the Jamaican spouse can use passport/valid driver’s identification or the national identification card.
  • Affidavit that clearly states that both husband and wife share a common matrimonial home which is signed by a Justice of the Peace
  • Two (2) certified passport sized photographs of the expatriate spouse
  • One (1) certified passport sized photograph of the Jamaican spouse
  • A copy of the Decree Absolut if either of the spouses have been previously married
  • A certified copy and original death certificate if either have lost a spouse
  • The obtained certificate alongside with the passport is to be taken to the Immigration Authority for the passport to be endorsed

Please note:The work exemption given to expatriates is different by gender as males are given an Exemption Certificate that is valid for three (3) years while females are unrestricted.

However in both cases marriage must exceed a month.
The work permit exemption is processed at the same division as the work permit.

If you need a work permit exemption form go to this link.

Caribbean Single Market Economy Residents (CSME) Application Processing

As previously stated under the Caribbean Community Free Movement 1997 Act, Caricom nationals are covered.

On entering any member state, skilled nationals are given a “Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skilled Person”.

This Act covers from artistes, musicians, journalists and other professionals. In the case of Jamaica, the following procedures need to be followed:

  • Completed application form from the Ministry which has been previously highlighted
  • Certified copies of qualifications and in the case of artisans and domestics they should provide at least HEART/TRUST NTA level 2

Please note: All applicants are required to provide a letter from the awarding institution of their qualifications which cannot be substituted with a transcript.

Also qualifications obtained from universities other than the University of the West Indies, University of Technology, University of Guyana, Mico University and University of Surinam need to be assessed by the University Council of Jamaica at 6B Oxford Road, Kingston 10.

Also in the case of professionals such as medical personnel and engineers there has to be registration with the relevant local authorities which have their own fees attached.

 Certified copy of page with passport showing bio-data and expiry date
 Certified copy of birth certificate
 A deed poll/other document in the case of name change
 Three (3) certified passport sized photographs
 Police report from country of residence over the past three (3) years

There are several non-refundable fees in Jamaican dollars for processing the “Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skilled Person”

Item Fee (unit cost JMD)
Application 2000
Certificate 8000
Replacement 3000
Amendment 2000
Dependent 2000

Dependents of Caricom nationals each need to supply the following documents:

  1. Certified copy of the birth certificate
  2. Certified copy of the passport page
    NB. Where the applicant’s name is not on the birth certificate of the dependent; then a certified declaration that the applicant is the parent by two (2) persons who are Justice of the Peace or Notary Public.
  3. Adoption papers for adopted children where applicable
  4. Marriage certificate where applicable (husband/wife)
  5. A copy of the Decree Absolut certified by either a Justice of the Peace or Notary Public if either husband/wife were previously divorced
  6. A certified copy of the death certificate if former husband or wife died.

Other relevant authorities to be contacted for registration to work in Jamaica includes:

  • Professional Engineers Registration Board
    2 Winchester Road, Kingston 10
    Tel: 876-754-6275/876-929-8820

  • The Medical Council of Jamaica
    2 King Street, Kingston
    Tel: 876-922-3116

  • Public Accountancy Board
    c/o Min. of Finance and Planning
    Block G, First Floor
    30 National Heroes Circle
    Kingston 4
    Tel: 876-922-8600

  • Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology
    PCJ Building, 36 Trafalgar Road,
    Kingston 10
    Fax: 876-960-1623

  • The Nursing Council of Jamaica
    25 Dominica Drive, Kingston 5
    Tel: 876-926-6042/876-929-5118


  • Employment Jamaica. 2018. Work Permit in Jamaica: Eligibility for Work Permit Exemption taken from
  • Government of Jamaica. Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act 1964 taken from Foreign%20Nationals%20and%20Commonwealth%20Citizens%2C%20etc.%20Act_0.pdf
  • Government of Jamaica. Jamaican Nationality Act 2014 taken from
  • Jamaica Information Service. Applying for a Work Permit taken from

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