The Antigua and Barbuda government says it will not provide work permits for foreigners, informing employers, particularly in the hotel sector, to ensure that nationals are given priority particularly as the island deals with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A statement issued after the weekly Cabinet meeting, noted that the issue of work permits had been discussed by ministers and “it has already been agreed that those residents who are applying to renew their work permits shall be allowed to make the payment and to receive the renewal after satisfying the usual conditions.
“Those foreigners who are applying for work permits for the very first time will not be issued the permit; the employer will be compelled to hire from among the many skilled unemployed workers now floating around the country,” the statement noted.
It said that in the hotel industry “especially, those managers seeking to renew permits will have to demonstrate that the property has an understudy who is a national of Antigua and Barbuda”.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet said it had also discussed “the dire situation” in St. Lucia as well as Dubai, where the pandemic has had a significant impact on their economies.
“The Covid-19 global pandemic is the sole cause of the global decline in economic activity, as countries close their borders or impose severe conditions for entry into their territories. The movement of people, goods and investments has been slowed significantly, adversely affecting employment, government revenues, and once-successful enterprises.
“In Antigua and Barbuda, the Cabinet made the decision to invest the scarce resources available; to keep every public employee on the payroll; and not to fritter away the revenues by handouts of stimuli money, as proposed by others.
“The Antigua and Barbuda formula is working. Nevertheless, many private contractors and service providers have been receiving a fraction of the monies owed, because of the decline in revenue collection,” the statement noted.