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How to Get Permission to Work in Barbados

Who wouldn't want to work in Barbados?

Who wouldn't want to work in Barbados?

Working in Barbados

Barbados may only be 430 sq kilometres, but it is one of the more densely populated islands of the Caribbean with a population of more than 290,000 persons. Interestingly, Barbados has always lured persons from the outside to its shores as tourists and as residents, including the rich and famous.

This English-speaking country offers more than just white sandy beaches and is a hub of activity for anyone who may enjoy sporting activities, a dynamic restaurant scene, nightlife, festivals, and more. The island boasts reliable broadband internet and cellular service in all areas which makes online entertainment and communication quite a joy.

While it is not necessarily easy to emigrate to Barbados solely for work, opportunities are sometimes available for non-nationals that call for a work permit.

The application process is detailed but simple: personal and professional information and documents are submitted by the potential employer to the immigration department. The decision to grant permission and the length of time that is given on the permit takes a few important factors into consideration that we will discuss below.

Work Permit

Any person entering Barbados to work, even if they are not being paid in Barbados, must have a valid work permit.

Who Needs a Work Permit?

Any non-national of Barbados will need to have some form of permission to work in Barbados. Nationals of CARICOM Member States may qualify to work in Barbados under the free movement of skills/labour agreement. Anyone not falling into this category will need to have a valid work permit.

Barbados, like all countries, will only consider granting permission to expatriates for vacancies that cannot be filled by locals due to a deficiency in skills and/or experience. Employers are required to advertise for all vacancies in the local media and make every effort to find a local applicant who may be able to do the job before looking for skills outside of the country.

The onus will always be on the employer to prove that every reasonable effort was made to find a Barbadian national or to show why it is necessary to import the skills and experience that will be brought to the position by the expatriate.

Interns or students who may want to come to Barbados to gain experience in a particular organisation or industry also need to apply for a permit, in this case it will be a Training Attachment permit.

When a work permit application is made, it is for a specific position and employer. This means that the permit cannot be transferred to another person, position, or company once it has been granted.

Short Term/Training Attachment Permit Requirements

Short Term/Training Attachment Permits are required for persons who will be in Barbados for a maximum period of 11 months. Typically employers opt for this type of permit when they may be hiring short-term consultants, trainers, or employees for a probationary period, and need the assistance of employees from departments located outside of Barbados or temporary employees. This also applies to students or recent graduates who may be looking for international work experience.

Long Term and Short Term/Training Attachment Permits currently carry an application fee of US $150. Additional fees are charged once a permit application is granted. These fees vary based on the position and the length of stay granted.

Documents to be Submitted

Cover Letter

C3 Application Form

Police Certificate of A Certificate of Character from the Police of each country which you have lived for at least 6 months in the past 3 years

4 Passport Size Photos

Copy of Passport Bio-Data Page

Long Term Permit Application Requirements

Long Term Permits can be applied for employees who will be hired to work in Barbados for 12–36 months. The application process is more extensive and requires the potential employee to provide more in-depth information and documentation as part of the application process.


C1 and C2 Application Forms

Completed Medical Application Form

4 passport-sized photos

2 character references on applicant

A detailed cover letter from potential employer outlining the nature of the business, the period of time in which the applicant will be employed, his category of employment and the reason for the request

A Certificate of Character from the Police of each country which you have lived for at least 6 months in the past 3 years.

Copy of Passport Bio-Data Page

Establishing a Business in Barbados

You can also apply for permission to work if you are looking to establish a new business in Barbados. Applications will have to be made for a Long Term Work Permit and will require these additional documents:

  • Proof of the transfer of funds for investment, which should be in keeping with the Central Bank regulations
  • Certificate of Registration/ Articles of Incorporation
  • Related business licenses. Societies with Restricted Liability (SRL) and International Business Companies (IBC).

More Information

I hope that this has been helpful in providing some information on obtaining a work permit for Barbados. Excerpts have been taken from the Work Permits Section 17 of the Immigration Act, CAP 190.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Is a work permit the same as a visa?

Answer: No, they are two different things. The visa is required to enter Barbados from specified countries. A work permit is only required for working at a company located in Barbados.

© 2019 Audra Stevenson