Update: See the response of Commissioner Zagers on this news at the end of the article.
The policy on work permits has been eased for a number of professions on Saba. The policy, which went into effect on the 30th of November 2018, was established in close consultation between the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) and local authorities. According to the new procedure, the so-called island test which requires to search for local employee availability for two or five weeks, is reduced to zero days.
This is applicable to the following categories: teachers, diving instructors, chefs, doctors and positions where the annual salary amounts to more than USD 50.000,-. In these cases there is no need to search for local employees for weeks. The employer can immediately start the application procedure for a TWV. However, the Public Entity Saba must be informed about the vacancy.
For the time being, this new procedure only applies to Saba, where this proposal was put forward by the local government. The eased arrangement will be evaluated with the various parties involved. This will show whether the change is considered as an improvement and whether additional adjustments are desirable.
Update: response of Commissioner Zagers:
Saba Commissioner Bruce Zagers of General Affairs responded cautiously optimistic to the news that the labour market test for Saba for certain work areas will be eliminated and vacancies for five professions no longer have to be published. “It is a positive development and a good first step to help expedite the granting of work permits, but this is only part of the process,” he said in a reaction.
According to Zagers, this agreement was the result of a good working relationship with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour SZW and the Saba Government having proven to be a responsible administration. This has resulted in the granting of more trust.
The Saba Government ultimately wants to have the full authority over the issuing of work permits. “We have been lobbying to completely take over the task of the granting of work permits. We see the elimination of the labour market test for certain professions as a step in the right direction, but eventually we hope to completely take over the entire responsibility of work permits,” said Zagers.