Antigua and Barbuda Clarifies Position on CARICOM Nationals’ Free Movement

Antigua and Barbuda Clarifies Position on CARICOM Nationals' Free Movement 2

Antigua and Barbuda has officially stated its position regarding the movement of CARICOM nationals, emphasizing its intention to maintain the current Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) skills regime rather than adopting full free movement. This decision aims to address labor market demands locally and manage immigration effectively, considering the country’s economic and fiscal challenges.

During the Forty-Sixth Regular Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government, discussions were held on amending the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) to legally support the free movement of all CARICOM Nationals. While Antigua and Barbuda supports regional integration, it expressed the necessity of a managed migration approach to prevent potential dislocation of the indigenous population and job protection.

Antigua and Barbuda has a history of liberal immigration policies but has opted for a more pragmatic approach given current global economic challenges. The country’s stance is to continue using the CSME skills regime, which is considered to accommodate its human resource needs effectively.

The nation confirmed it would not consent to the full free movement of all CARICOM nationals being contemplated by other member states, with potential future consideration once adequately prepared for an increased inflow of CARICOM nationals seeking residence and employment.

Upcoming meetings through the Intergovernmental Task Force (IGTF), Legal Affairs Committee, and a Heads of Government Meeting will further discuss the legal amendments required for full free movement. The CARICOM Secretariat is expected to launch a comprehensive public education program to clarify the movement of community nationals and prevent confusion.

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