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Home arrow Work Permits

Working In The Free Trade And Processing Zone

In keeping with the Free Trade & Processing Zone Act, No. 12 of 1994 and the Antigua and Barbuda Free Trade and Processing Zone Regulations Governing Licencees, the following are the procedures for licensed companies in the Free Trade Zone to apply for work permits for non-national employees:

1.0 Regulations Governing Work Permits

The Antigua and Barbuda Free Trade and Processing Zone Regulations Governing Licensees, section 5.0 (1) Employment of Nationals states:

"A company licensed to operate a business shall employ at least three (3) persons who are citizens of Antigua and Barbuda to each expatriate employee, including Management, in the business operation of the company."

The investor is also obliged to ensure that a minimum of one (1) Antiguan / Barbudan is given, at minimum, a middle management position in job content and salary for every ten (10) persons employed.

2.0 Procedures for Obtaining a Work Permit

Acting in accordance with that specific requirement of section 5.0 (1), this section outlines the procedures to be taken by licensees of the Free Trade and Processing Zone when applying for work permits for non-national employees. The application procedure involves the input of several different Government departments, it is therefore advised that applications be submitted to the Zone well in advance of the employee's start date. It is also advised that companies check with the Free Trade Zone intermittently for procedural updates.

3.0 Work Permit Application FAQ

  • A special work permit is required for all non-citizens to work in the Free Trade Zone or on premises licensed by the Free Trade Zone as the regular work permit issued for working in Antigua and Barbuda is not valid for working in the Free Trade Zone or on premises licensed by the Free Trade Zone.
  • Applications for work permits must be submitted to the Free Trade and Processing Zone in advance of the employment commencement date.
  • Completed application forms must be presented to the Free Trade Zone Commissioner for approval before submission to the Department of Labour for the granting of the work permit.

4.0 Advertisement of Vacant Positions

  • In accordance with the laws of Antigua and Barbuda, all vacant positions must be advertised in the local (Antiguan) media for a minimum of five (5) consecutive days prior to submitting a work permit application for a non - national for processing by the Free Trade and Processing Zone.
  • After the advertisement requirement is fulfilled and no Antiguan National qualifies for the position, a work permit application for a non-national to fill the position as advertised can be submitted.
  • Copies of the advertisement as it appears must be submitted with the application for work permit.

5.0 Secure Time from the Immigration Department

  • In order for a work permit application to be processed, the applicant must possess at least three (3) months valid stay stamped in his or her passport by the Immigration Department.

6.0 Obtain Work Permit Form

  • Work permit application forms are purchased at the Ministry of Labour at a cost of EC$0.50.

7.0 Complete Application Form

  • Both the applicant and the company offering employment to the applicant must complete the respective work permit application forms.
  • The First Schedule of the work permit must be completely filled out and signed by the applicant.
  • The Second Schedule must be completed by the company offering employment and signed by the authorized representative of that company.
  • The stamp or seal of that company must be affixed next to the authorized signature. Applications must be complete in order for them to be processed.
  • The completed work permit must be stamped by the Government Treasury Department before they are submitted to the Free Trade and Processing Zone. A fee of E.C $ 10.00 is charged by the Treasury.
  • The payment receipt from the Treasury Department must be attached to the work permit application form before it is submitted to the Free Trade Zone for processing.

9.0 Submit Work Permit Application to the Free Trade Zone for Certification and Approval

  • Submit the completed, stamped work permit application form to the Free Trade and Processing Zone along with all supporting documents.

Supporting documents required are as follows:

  • Valid Passport or Notarized copy of valid Passport (must include page with photograph and passport information, page displaying expiry date and place of issue, page displaying visa to travel to Antigua and page displaying time granted by Antiguan Immigration Authorities).
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Certificates / Diplomas /Degrees or notarized copies of the same (proof of education as stated on work permit application and curriculum vitae).
  • Police Record / Certificate of Good Standing.
  • Photocopy of Return Airline Ticket.
  • Work Permit Application Fee receipt from Treasury Department.
  • Copies of each advertisement placed in local media .
  • Letter from company of employment accepting responsibility for the applicant while the applicant remains within its employment.
  • The application will be stamped and signed by the Commissioner of the Free Trade Zone. The permit will then be returned to the applicant, legal counsel or company representative acting on the behalf of the applicant for the work permit.

10.0 Submit Work Permit Application to the Ministry of Labour for Approval

  • The work permit application bearing the Free Trade and Processing Zone stamp and signature of the Commissioner of the Free Trade Zone must be submitted to the Labour Department for final approval and granting of the work permit. The estimated time period for this phase is between three (3) to four (4) weeks.
  • The Labour Department will issue a receipt for the cost of work permit.
  • When processing is complete, the Ministry of Labour will determine the amount to be paid for the work permit once it has been approved. The cost of the work permit is based on the salary scale per job description standards set out by the Labour Department and must be paid to the Government Treasury forthwith.

11.0 Collect Approved Work Permit

  • The receipt of payment received from the Treasury Department must then be presented to the Ministry of Labour as proof of the applicant's payment. Permits can then be collected and are listed as the Third Schedule of the work permit.

12.0 Renewal of Work Permit

  • Application for the renewal of work permit shall be accompanied by a certificate / letter from the Social Security Board, the Medical Benefit Board and the Board of Education that all Contributions required to be paid to these Boards have been paid up to date. Work permit will not be renewed until these certificates are produced.
  • Please take note of the expiration date issued on the work permit. Work permits for renewal must be submitted prior to the expiration date stated on the valid permit. It is wise to begin the renewal process at least four (4) weeks prior to the date of expiration.


Immigration Department
Gores Building on Old Parham Road (between Price Waterhouse and Christ the King High School)
Tel: 562 - 1387 / 562 - 1010
Fax: 562 - 1388
Treasury Department
The Treasury Department is located at the corner of High and Cross Streets
Tel: 462 - 0159
Ministry of Labour
Administration Building at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Queen Elizabeth Highway
Tel: 462 - 4988
Fax: 462 - 9202
Free Trade & Processing Zone
Coolidge adjacent to the US Air Base
Tel: 481 - 1650 / 51 / 2
Fax: 481 - 1672
Work Permits - PDF
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