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House approves CARICOM Act amendments

Published:Thursday | October 10, 2013 | 12:00 AM

The House of Representatives Tuesday passed a bill which seeks to amend the Caribbean Community (Free Movement of Skilled Persons) Act.

The bill was passed without the parliamentary Opposition contributing to the debate.

Labour and Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier opened debate on the bill last week, after which it was suspended. However, yesterday, no member of the Opposition rose to make an input in the debate, and government members stayed silent.

In light of the absence of participants for the debate, Kellier moved for second reading of the bill, which saw it being sent to the committee stage.

The bill, which, among other things, provides for the introduction of a single certificate system whereby member states recognise valid qualifying certificates issued by other member states, was passed without amendments.

If passed in the Senate, a fee structure for the provision of CARICOM Qualifying Certificates will be introduced.

Under Regulation Two of the Caribbean Community (Free Movement of Skilled Persons) Act, persons will now be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $2,000 for the issuance of a certificate.

The law is also being amended to require applicants to pay a processing fee of $8,000, and a further $2,000 for each dependent.

In the event that a certificate has been lost or stolen, persons will have to fork out $3,000 to secure a replacement.

The bill also proposes that applicants pay $2,000 to have certificates amended.