Who can work without a work permit in the Turks and Caicos Islands?
The following persons can work in the Turks and Caicos Islands without a work permit.
Evidence of Status
A Turks and Caicos Islander
Turks and Caicos National Status Card
A British Overseas Territory Citizen (Turks and Caicos)
A Turks and Caicos Islands Passport
A Permanent Resident with endorsement to work
A Permanent Residence Certificate
A Spouse of a Turks and Caicos Islander who lives with that spouse
Residence Permit – Spouse of Turks and Caicos Islander category
Can I apply for a work permit on my own?
Only Self Employed Person’s and Freelancer’s work permit applications are eligible to be submitted by an employee. All other applications must be submitted by the employer or by agencies/firms accredited to do so on their behalf.
What should be the motive for submitting a work permit application?
A work permit application should only be submitted if an employee/s is/are needed to perform a real job and all efforts to recruit a Turks and Caicos Islander has failed. Your efforts must include newspaper advertisements and evidence of contact with the Employment Services Department to determine if there are persons who are job seekers whether registered with the Department or not, with the skills that you need.
If the application is for a self-employed or freelancer’s work permit, there is no need for this requirement to be met.
If a labour clearance is needed, the law now requires the following advertisement condition to be met.
The employer must advertise in two consecutive issues of a newspaper published in and sold or distributed on the Islands, and the advertisement must -
- describe the nature of the position available in sufficient detail to enable persons reading the advertisement to have a reasonable indication of the nature of the work and conditions of employment;
- contain the name of the employer and details of the whereabouts of the office or other place to which the application is to be submitted together with contact details, including telephone and fax numbers and an email address;
- set out clearly the salary package relating to the position;
- invite prospective applicants who are Islanders to send copies of their applications to the Work Permit Board; and
- state whether the position is currently held by a work permit holder.
What are the current work categories and what supporting documents are required for each?
There are three types of work permit.
- Employed (Skilled and Unskilled)
- Self Employed
The following CERTIFIED documents MUST be supplied with each application, irrespective of the category. Nationals from some countries may be required to present ORIGINAL documents.
- Two photographs of the foreign worker and each person to be endorsed. Only ONE photograph must certified
- Certified copy of the foreign worker’s passport bio data page showing photograph and date and place of birth
- If on island, proof of legal entry and lawful stay in the Islands
- valid Police record
- Certificate of Good Health (please contact the Ministry of Health for further information)
- Confirmation of up to date NHIP and NIB contribution (if applying for renewal)
- Cover letter outlining the need for the work permit
|- Cover letter outlining the need for the work permit
- Completed application form signed by the employer and applicant
- Employer’s Business license
- News Paper Advertisements
- Job description
- Employment Contract
- Academic/Professional Qualifications Certificates and Diplomas
- If not from an English speaking country evidence of proficiency in both spoken and written English
NB: An Employment contract must also be given to the Employment Services Department after employment is found.
- Completed application form signed by the applicant
- Completed application form signed by the applicant and employer
- Completed application form
Will a Labour Clearance be needed for each category?
A labour clearance is needed for applications under the Employed persons category only. However, the clearance will be issued internally, if approved. The new work permit application form is designed to capture information needed to decide on labour clearances, as such, applicants will be required to pay the require fee upon submission of the application and will be notified of the decision, when made. There will not be a need to return to the office unless additional information is required or the Labour Clearance is deferred for additional information or documents or if it is denied. In which case you will contacted to collect your returned application.
What is the new work permit application process?
As a means of improving service delivery and processing applications in a timely manner, the Turks and Caicos Islands Government passed new legislation which created and brought into force the establishment of two Work Permit Boards categorised by geographical zones.
Zone 1 Work Permit Board covers and comprise of members representing the islands of Grand Turk, South Caicos and Salt Cay
Zone 2 Work Permit Board covers and comprise of members representing the islands of Providenciales, North Caicos, and Middle Caicos
Businesses and Employers are restricted to submitting applications to the Work Permit Board located in their respective zone.
Businesses which have a significant presence in both zones may elect which Board to apply to and may not change Zones for subsequent new or renewal Applications unless the Board which they have initially elected to submit their Applications have consented to the changeover.
How often does the board meet in each island and where can I find their schedule?
Schedules will be posted within the coming weeks. It should be noted however that cut-off dates for the receipt of applications will be strictly adhered to.
Where can I get application forms?
Application forms are available on the following link.
Forms will also be available at the Customer Service Centers (One Stop Shop) when receipt of new application commences.
Can I apply for several years work permit at one time?
Yes. However, the following maximum periods should be noted and it should also be noted that the fees for the full period must be paid when the work permit is approved. It should also be noted that the Turks and Caicos Islands Government does not facilitate payment plans.
- Self Employed - up to 5 years
- Employed - Skilled up to 5 years
- Unskilled up to 3 years
- Freelancer’s -up to 5 years
I have an urgent need for a worker on a temporary basis. What do I do?
Under certain conditions a work permit can be issued for a short period of time and there are also situations when corporate staff need to visit the Islands several times a year for only a few days. Please click here to see what options are available to you. The two short term permitting options are described briefly below.
(i) Temporary Work Permit
The existing provision to acquire a temporary work permit is available. It should be noted however that, a person to whom a temporary work permit has been issued shall not apply for and obtain a Work Permit (Employed Person) until three months have expired following the date of expiry of the Temporary Work Permit.
(ii) Business Visitor’s Permit
There is also the option to apply for a Business Visitor’s Permit which may be issued annually. The holder of a business visitor’s permit is able to travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands several times per year but will not be able to remain in the Islands for more than seven days (7) days at on each visit.
How long will it take to process the work permit application?
Under the Turks and Caicos Islands Government commissioned Business Transformation Strategy, the Ministry of Border Control and Employment, the Employment Services Department and the Immigration Board have been planning to implement the initiatives and steps necessary to reduce processing times to 30 days from the payment of the prescribed application fees to the date the work permit application is decided.
The flow chart above represents a new process which we hope will assist us in this important endeavour. (See diagram)
While we recognise our shortcoming, you, our valued clients have an important role to play also and we ask that you contribute so that together we can achieve this mandate for the present and future business environment of the Turks and Caicos Islands. You can help to reduce processing time by doing the following.
- Complete the application forms completely and accurately
- Ensure that all the supporting documents are attached. Please DO NOT STAPLE the photographs.
- It can help to keep your documents safe and secure by submitting you application in an envelope.
- Start the application process at least 3 months in advance to avoid the work permit expiring before you are able to submit an application for renewal. If the work permit expires prior to the submission of an application for renewal, there is a $250 penalty fee
- Pay all the required fees within the time-frame allotted
- Where applicable, demonstrate clearly that the job is a genuine job and that you made every effort to recruit a Turks and Caicos Islander
- Ensure that you provide an email address as well as a telephone number in the event there is a need to contact you urgently.
Our service standard is to decide a labour clearance, if needed, within 10 working days and work permits within 15 days if a labour clearance is NOT needed and a work permit within 25 days if a clearance is needed.
We also offer a Fast Track Service where applications can be considered within 7 days. Work Permits that have expired and permits holders that are the subject of enforcement activities will not be eligible to apply for this service.
What are the fees for a work permit and how are they paid?
The Fee Schedule that came into effect in April 2015 remains unchanged. Copies of the Fee Schedule may be obtained from the Attorney General Chamber’s.
Unlike in the past, where work permit fees were paid in full up front. You will now be required to pay in the following manner.
- A non-refundable Administration Fee which will be either $150 00or 10% of the work permit fee per application, which-ever is greater.
- If required, Labour Clearance Fees $100.00 per application.
- A non-refundable Fast Track Service Fee of $500 00 for Fast Track Service (i.e. 7 days processing service).
- A non-refundable Repatriation Fee for each first time work permit application and/or upon a new work permit application involving a change in employer.
- Any other fees owed to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government with respect to work permits
Upon Notification that the Work Permit is approved
The remaining work permit fee balance. You will be required to pay this amount within 21 working days after receiving notification that the work permit has been approved. Failure to pay within this time frame will result in the automatic withdrawal of the decision and the application will need to be resubmitted together with the payment of new application and repatriation fees.
How can I get an endorsement for my spouse or child or children?
As a matter of policy, a spouse or child can only be on certain categories of work permits, and where it may be possible to do so, the applicant/employer has to demonstrate that the employee’s income is sufficient to support him/herself and family in the islands and provide for the registration of the children in a private school.
Applications are submitted in the same manner as work permits.
The fee structure is a $150.00 non-refundable administrative fee, as well as a non-refundable fee of $500 with respect to each endorsee. Both are to be paid upon application.
Do I have to use an agent to submit applications on my/ my company’s behalf?
Within the coming months, and in keeping with the provisions of the new Immigration Ordinance 2015, the Ministry of Border Control and Employment will be providing a list of agents that are approved and certified to submit applications on behalf of individuals and companies. Even then, the possibility of submitting applications without the use of an agent will remain.
Do you need assistance?