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How To Get Jamaican Work Permits for Hospital and Clinic Healthcare Personnel

by Erin
(Texas, USA)

work permits in jamaica
Photo: Work Permit/ Exemption Application Form

How long does it generally take to get a work permit? Can we work while the permit is being processed?

RESPONSE: by Deon Clarke

Hi Erin,

Greetings to you over there in the U.S.A., the land of the free. I will be more than happy to address your questions today.

Healthcare workers are extremely important in any country and frankly, there just doesn’t seem to be enough to go around. As such, you will find that countries will always have need for these essential services at times for different categories of workers. Thus resulting in the need for a work permit where applicable.

So, to answer your questions Erin.

How long does it generally take to get a work permit?

Any person who is not exempted but is desirous of obtaining a work permit in Jamaica is required to do so by submitting an application to the Work Permit Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS). This can be done through their prospective employer, legal representative or their contractor.

This process can be quite tedious though, but once all the required documents are provided, the process usually takes about four to six weeks. Yes, 4-6 weeks!

Exemptions From Work Permit

It is important for you to know that there are some categories of workers, including healthcare, workers that may be exempt from getting a work permit due to the Foreign Nationals and Common Wealth Citizens (Employment) Exemptions Regulations of 1964.

Once confirmed, the request can be made by the relevant organization by submitting a letter to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. This should clearly outline:

  • The full name of the applicant
  • Nationality
  • Duration of exemption
  • Explanation of the duties that are to be performed by the applicant

You can confirm your eligibility by contacting any of the offices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security islandwide. However, if you are not eligible for an exemption, then here’s what you need to do.

So what do you need?

Here’s a list below:

  • A completed application form.
    The application form is available at any of the offices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security islandwide. It is also available online on the ministry’s website at:

  • Employers who are submitting applications on the behalf of prospective employees must submit a cover letter to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security outlining the below:

    • The reasons for the application
    • The duration of the work to be done
    • Evidence of attempts or efforts to recruit local persons for the job in question

  • A non-refundable processing fee of $14,400 is required as well and must also be submitted with the application.

  • If the approval for the work permit is granted, then a work permit fee must be paid as outlined below before it can be issued:

    • Duration of up to 3 months - $27,000
    • Duration of 3-6 months - $54,000
    • Duration of 6-9 months - $81,000
    • Duration of 9-12 months - $108,000

  • Applications for work permit on the behalf of persons who are self-employed must be submitted with a cover letter as well outlining the below:

    • The nature and the duration of the stipulated work
    • The applicant’s resume
    • The applicant’s police record
    • Certified copies of the applicant’s credentials
    • Two (2) passport size photographs

And the next question...

Can we work while the permit is being processed?

So, your application for your work permit is submitted and you are anxiously awaiting your approval. Great job! However, you are also anxious to start working. But, can you? Or do you have to wait on the work permit.

Unfortunately, you are not allowed to work without having your work permit.

As such, it is extremely important to have this process completed before arriving on the island. That way, you can start working as soon as you get here!

Thanks again Erin. I hope the information provided was helpful in answering your questions. Be sure to share a comment below and share this response if you think it might help someone.

See also: How to work in Jamaica as a US citizen.



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