Work Permit

The Work Permit Section of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is responsible for the administration of the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act and the Caribbean Community Free Movement of Skilled Persons Act (Copies of the acts are available at the Jamaica Printing Services.

What is a Work Permit?

A Work Permit is a document (card) bearing a number and photograph that is issued to an expatriate which authorizes that individual to work in Jamaica according to its stipulations for a specified period of time.

Persons seeking to obtain a work permit are required to make an application to this Ministry through their prospective employer, contractor (individuals), the Jamaica Promotions Corporation (Jampro – Investors) or through legal representation.

The Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Exemptions Regulations 1964 lists the different categories of persons who are eligible to receive exemptions from the requirements of work permits.

Eligibility for Work Permit or Exemption

1. Work Permit Exemption

The Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Exemptions Regulations 1964 lists the different categories of persons who are eligible to receive exemptions from the requirements of work permits.

The request for an exemption is usually made by way of a letter from the relevant organization addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, providing details such as the full name of the applicant, his/her nationality, period for which exemption is being sought and an explanation of duties to be performed by the applicant.

2. Marriage Exemption

Persons who are eligible for Marriage Exemption under Part I of the Schedule of the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizen (employment) Exemption Regulations i.e. in view of their marriage to Jamaican nationals are required to attend the Ministry of Labour, 1F North Street Kingston (see checklist for guidance) with their spouses in order to obtain a Marriage Exemption Certificate.

Procedure for obtaining a Marriage Exemption by Foreign Nationals married to Jamaican Spouse

A processing fee of Seventeen Thousand, Two Hundred And Fifty Jamaican dollars (Ja$l7,250.00) is to be paid (using the Ministry Payment voucher), at any branch of the National Commercial Bank submitted on attendance. The vouchers can be obtained at the Work Permit Department or any Regional/Parish Office island wide.

Both Husband and wife must attend at the Ministry of Labour, 1F North Street, Kingston with the following documents:

  • Birth Certificate or Citizenship Certificate of Jamaican Spouse (original and certified copy).
  • Marriage Certificate (original and certified copy).
  • Passport of both husband and wife. For the Jamaican, a valid passport, national ID or driver’s license maybe used.
  • Affidavit signed by both husband and wife stating that they share a common matrimonial home in Jamaica. This must be certified by a Justice of the Peace.
  • Two certified passport size photographs of husband or wife (expatriate).
  • One certified passport size photograph of husband or wife (Jamaican).
  • A copy of the Decree Absolute if either or both the husband and wife have previously been divorced.
  • A copy of death certificate (original and certified copy) if a former spouse has died.


  • Expatriate males are issued an Exemption Certificate which is valid over three (3) years period.
  • Expatriate females are issued a letter of Exemption valid for the duration of the marriage to the Jamaican spouse.
  • Marriage should exceed ONE MONTH before attending the Ministry for processing.
  • Processing and delivery is done the same day attended.
  • The Certificate along with the passport of the Non-Jamaican is to be taken to the Immigration Authorities for the passport to be endorsed.


Both parties must attend at the Ministry at least one (1) month before the expiry date and should take along the following documents.

1) Exemption Certificate previously issued.

2) Both Passports (Please see above note on valid forms of identification for the Jamaican).

3) Affidavit duly signed by both parties and certified by a Justice of Peace or Notary Public.


Application Form Requirements


It is important that all applicants for a work permit and work permit exemption in Jamaica take careful note of the instructions contained herein, These instructions are designed to assist you in properly completing each application and also to ensure that you supply the Ministry of Labour & Social Security with all relevant information to allow for careful consideration and ease in processing your application.

Application forms and cover letters are to be submitted in triplicate with two sets of documents specified in instruction 4.

  • You should complete the application thoroughly, writing in ink and using block capitals. It is an offence punishable by law to supply any false or misleading statement or false documents in support of your application for a work permit or work permit exemption.
  • Part I of the application (questions 1-29) should be completed by the applicant. The prospective employer of the applicant should complete Part II (questions 30-51) of this form. Employers should note carefully and provide the information required in questions 43-50 concerning the steps taken to recruit a Jamaican national for the job to be undertaken by the applicant.
  • Please note that Part III of this Form is strictly for Official use only and therefore you should not write or mark in that section as this may invalidate your application.
  • Applicants seeking a work permit on the basis of being self-employed should complete Parts I and II of this form.
  • You should sign and date your application in the spaces provided at Questions 29 and 51 on your form. Applications that are not properly signed and dated will not be processed.
  • Any question on the application that is not relevant to you, the applicant, should be marked with the letters N/A
  • A non-refundable fee is payable for processing the application.
  • Where approval has been granted for a work permit, prospective employer of the applicant will be notified. Upon receiving the Notice of Approval, a Work Permit Fee is payable by the employer before the Work Permit may be issued. The Work Permit becomes effective from the date it was approved.
  • Payment vouchers are available at the Work Permit Section of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, IF North Street, Kingston and at any of the Parish Offices islandwide.
  • Payments are to be made at any branch of the National Commercial Bank (NCB).

Work Permits are not transferable. Whenever a person to whom a Work Permit has been granted wishes to withdraw his/her services from one employer and take up employment with another before the expiration of the current Work Permit the applicant is required to submit a letter from the previous employer when making a new application, advising whether or not there is any objection to the applicant accepting employment elsewhere in Jamaica.


Documents to be submitted with Applications

NB. Applications for a Work Permit or a Work Permit Exemption in excess of thirty (30) days should be submitted along with the following supporting documents:

Applicants should submit a cover letter outlining the nature and duration of the work to be undertaken. Details of investment proposal(s) should also be stated (Documentary proof of proposed investment(s) should be submitted).

ii. Proof of Qualification

  1. Certified copies of proof of academic or professional qualifications or letters of accreditation.
  2. A letter of recommendation or written reference from the previous employer of the applicant or evidence of the business/commercial/professional activity of the applicant abroad.

iii. In cases where any of the above named documents are prepared in a language other than English, a certified English translation of the relevant document should be supplied.

A Justice of the Peace or a Notary Public with a valid Commission should certify the documents. Authorised members of staff of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security may certify copies of the documents upon presentation of the original documents.

  • A resume outlining the professional or business experience of the applicant.
  • A police record:
  1. For new applications:
    The record should be issued by the appropriate Security Authority in the country of the domicile of the applicant.
  2. For renewals:
    The record should be issued by the relevant section of the Ministry of National Security Jamaica. NB. Please note that the police record submitted should bear a date of investigation not greater than one year prior to the date of submission to this Ministry.
  • Proof of Business Registration
  1. Certified copy of Business Registration Certificate for unincorporated enterprises.
  2. Certified copy of Certificate of Incorporation and the Memorandum of Association for duly registered companies. Articles of Association are not needed.
  • Where an applicant is self-employed or where an enterprise is in operation for at least a year, or the applicant is applying for renewal of a Work Permit, a Tax Compliance Certificate should be submitted.
  • Certified copies of pages from the passport of the applicant showing, (a) proof of identity, (b) passport number, (c) date of issue and expiry, (d) landing status in Jamaica and (e) relevant visas (where applicable).
  • Two (2) photographs in the case of a Work Permit and one (1) in the case of a Work Permit Exemption.(See Instruction Below)
  • The attached Tax Payer Registration Number (TRN) fonn, completed and signed by the applicant.
    NB. Applications for Renewal of a Work Permit or a Work Permit Exemption in excess of thirty (30) days should be accompanied by (a) certified copies of current -updated documents where these documents have expired since the last application (b) copies of salary statement of the last three (3) months salary (c) cover letter as outlined in instruction (i) above.


Photographs submitted with an application become the property of the Government of Jamaica.
Photographs should be professionally produced and taken not more than six (6) months prior to application, with the following specifications:

  1. It should be taken in colour with a flat finish against a plain background.
  2. It should provide a full frontal view of the head, neck and the top of the shoulders with ears clearly visible.
  3. There should be no reflection from eyeglasses or background shadows that may obscure the image.
  4. The size of the face should be 25mm to 35mm, from the chin to the top of the head.
  5. The applicant should not wear any head covering while taking the photograph except where required for religious reasons.
  6. Should be enclosed in an envelope and should not be stapled
  7. Should be certified by a Notary Public or a Justice of the Peace.

Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME)

The Department also administers the CARICOM (Free Movement) Skilled Persons Act which came into effect in July 1997.

The Act was designed to facilitate the free movement of Caribbean professionals within the Caribbean region. There are at present, 13 member states within Caricom, the majority have begun the implementation of this inter-regional agreement.

A document called “A Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skilled Person” is issued to persons who qualify under the Act. Each Caricom member state is required to issue this certification to qualified skilled persons entering their shores to engage in any form of employment.

This Caricom Free Movement of Skilled Persons agreement is being implemented on a phased basis where other categories of qualifying skills are to be included. To date, Artistes, Musicians, Journalists, Medical persons and Sport persons have been included under the Act.

Documents needed for Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skills
  1. Completed application form from the Ministry of Labour‘s Office.
  2. A certified copy of University Degree, Associate Degree, Diploma, Professional qualifications (ACCA, AAT etc.) Certificate NCTVET – Level 2 (HEART/TRUST NTA) for Artisans and Domestic workers ONLY –Note: All applicants are required to present a letter in a sealed envelope from the institution which the qualification (s) was awarded to verify that said qualification is authentic. (NOT A TRANSCRIPT)
  3. Certified copy of passport page (showing bio-data information and expiry date).
  4. A certified copy of Birth Certificate
  5. A deed poll/or other document to support change of name, if any.
  6. Three (3) certified passport size photographs
  7. Police Report from country of residence for the past 3 yrs.

*NB. Qualifications obtained from Universities other than those specified in the Act (University of the West Indies, University of Guyana , University of Technology, MICO University and University of Suriname) need to get the qualification assessed for equivalency at the University Council of Jamaica, 6b Oxford Road, Kingston 10.

  1. A certified copy of Birth Certificate
  2. Certified copy of passport page
  3. Three (3) certified passport size photographs.
  4. Where the applicant’s name is not on the birth certificate, a Declaration signed before a Justice of the Peace/Notary Public by two persons who knew of the birth stating that he/she (applicant) is the parent
  5. Adoption papers (for adopted children)
  6. Marriage Certificate (in case of wife/husband)
  7. A copy of the Decree Absolute certified by a Justice of the Peace/Notary Public if either or both the husband and wife were previously divorced.
  8. A certified copy of the death certificate if former husband or wife had died

Important Note & Non-Refundable Fees

With the amendment of the legislation governing the Free Movement of Skilled Nationals, we will see the following fees being charged as of April 01, 2014. These fees are non-refundable:

Application Fee $2,000.00
Cost of Certificate $8,000.00
Each Dependent $2,000.00
Replacement Fee $3,000.00
Amendment Fee $2,000.00

Things You Should Know
  • Only graduates with degrees, and who citizens are of designated Caricom Countries who are signatory to the agreement are eligible for the Certificate of Recognition.
  • Some professionals, for example; Engineers, Doctors, Veterinarians, Nurses who are desirous of working in Jamaica are required to register with the relevant authorities listed below:

Institution Addresses

Professional Engineers Registration Board

2 Winchester Road,
Kingston 10
Tel: 876-754-6275/876-929-8820

The Medical Council of Jamaica

2 King Street,
Tel: 976-922-3116

Ministry of Agriculture – Veterinary Division

Marcus Garvey Drive,
Kingston 13
Tel: 876-924-8077/8079

The Nursing Council of Jamaica

25 Dominica Drive,
Kingston 5
Tel: 876-926-6042/876-929-5118

Pharmacy Council

41 Lady Musgrave Road,
Kingston 10
Tel: 876-978-1000

Supplementary Council to Medicine

2 King Street, Kingston
Tel: 876-922-3116

Ministry of Agriculture – Fisheries Division

Marcus Garvey Drive,
Kingston 13
Tel: 876-937-6726

Jamaica Racing Commission

8 Winchester Road,
Kingston 10
Tel: 876-926-2718/2724/2727

Public Accountancy Board c/o Ministry of Finance & Planning

Block G, 1st Floor
30 National Heroes Circle
Kingston 4
Tel: 876-922-8600

Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Commission

Bldg 2,
17 Ruthven Road Kingston 10
Tel: 876-960-1549/7279

Ministry of Commerce, Science & Technology

36 Trafalgar Road,

Motor Vehicle Unit

Kingston 10
Tel: 876-929-8990-9

These registration processes may attract a fee (the relevant authorities will advise).

  • Under the FNACC Act, it is stated “A Foreign National or Commonwealth Citizen” shall not engage in any occupation unless there is in force a valid work permit which is issued in relation to his/her current employment terms and specifications (see Section 3 of the Act).
  • Any employer who employs an expatriate who does not have in force a valid work permit in relation to that employment is liable to imprisonment or fines. (see Section 6 of the FNCC Act). Every work permit should be kept by the person to whom it is issued. (see Section 9 of the act).
  • Non-Commonwealth Citizens are required to obtain a work visa, BEFORE entering the Island to engage in employment activity. The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), located at 25 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10 should be contacted on matters relating to the granting of a visa.