Employment in Jamaica

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is responsible for the administration of the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act, 1964, which seeks to
ensure that qualified Jamaicans are given first consideration in employment opportunities.

At the same time, it is recognized that the expertise needed for economic development is not always available because of a shortage in supply of certain special skills.
Foreign nationals seeking employment in Jamaica are required to obtain a Work Permit. A Work Permit is an official document issued to foreigners by the Ministry responsible for
Labour / Employment which authorizes a foreign national to undertake paid employment in Jamaica, for a specified period of time under specific circumstances.

Persons seeking to be granted work permits can do so by making an application to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security through their prospective employer, contractor or the
Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) Application forms must be completed, signed and submitted by the prospective local employer and must be accompanied by a cover letter also written by that employer, providing the following information:

1. The reasons for seeking a Work Permit
2. The efforts made to attract suitably qualified Jamaicans
3. The expected duration of the work to be undertaken by the applicant

The Work Permit application and supporting documents should be submitted to the Ministry of Labour at the following address:
Labour Division
1F North Street
Kingston, Jamaica
+ 1 (876 )922 9500 to 14

Commonwealth citizens may apply for work permits after arrival in Jamaica. Members of their immediate family, with special skills, and who are over the age of eighteen (18) years,
may also apply for work permits. Non-Commonwealth citizens must apply for a work permit before arrival in Jamaica.


Spouses of Jamaican nationals may be exempted from Work Permits under the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizen (employment) Exemption Regulations.

Application for a Marriage Exemption must be made to the Ministry of Labour at the address cited above, along with the following documents:

  1. Birth Certificate or Citizenship Certificate of Jamaican Spouse (original and certified copy).
  2. Marriage Certificate (original and certified copy).
  3. Passports of both applicant and spouse.
  4. Affidavit signed by both applicant and spouse stating that they share a common matrimonial home in Jamaica. This must be certified by a Justice of the Peace
  5. Two (2) certified passport size photographs of applicant and spouse
  6. One certified passport size photograph of husband or wife (Jamaican)
  7. Copy of the Decree Absolute if either or both the applicant and spouse have previously been divorced.
  8. A copy of death certificate if the Jamaican spouse is deceased


Work visas are issued solely on the basis of evidence of a confirmed job offer. Documents to be presented with the visa application are:

1. Valid national passport
2. Original letter from organization confirming job offer
3. Original work permit approval signed by or on behalf of the Minister of Labour
4. Completed visa application form
5. One (1) passport-size photograph
6. Visa fee

Note carefully that all foreign nationals are landed at the discretion of the Immigration Officer. They are required to have in their possession, upon arrival, return airline tickets (open tickets are advisable) and valid passports with appropriate Jamaican visa.