All questions

Employer sponsorship

Employers are allowed to sponsor foreign employees with skills that are in short supply. Applications for that purpose should be submitted to the Minister responsible for employment. To succeed, the employer is usually required to demonstrate that there is no suitable local employee to fill the post.

i Work permits

A person, other than a citizen, is not entitled to engage in any occupation or accept employment without obtaining a work permit. In addition, a person shall not engage or employ another person who is not a citizen or resident unless there is a valid work permit in force for that person and in relation to the specific employment.

An applicant for a work permit must make the application while the prospective employee is outside the Federation (this requirement does not apply to renewals of work permits). Upon approval, the applicant is required to pay the prescribed fee. The work permit is usually granted for up to one year at a time.

The employer or proposed employer may be required to furnish to the chief immigration officer such security as the Minister may determine sufficient to meet the cost of repatriating the employee and his or her dependants. The work permit will be invalid until any required security is furnished.

An applicant who is refused a work permit may appeal to the High Court under the Rules of Court for a judicial review of the Minister's decision. There is no appeal if entry to the country is refused by the Minister or an immigration officer acting in accordance with the Immigration Act.

ii Labour market regulation

According to the Labour Act, the labour market is supervised and monitored by the Department of Labour. The Labour Commissioner who heads the Department of Labour supervises and inspects worker's conditions of employment.

There are a number of regulations under various pieces of legislation that make up the framework of employer and employee relations. These include:

  1. the Holidays with Pay Act (Chapter 18.15);
  2. the Labour (Minimum Wage) Act (Chapter 18.19);
  3. the Protection of Employment Act (Chapter 18.27);
  4. the Protection of Wages Act (Chapter 18.28); and
  5. the Social Security Act (Chapter 22.10).

By far the most comprehensive piece of legislation is the Protection of Employment Act, which lays out the regulations dealing with such topics as termination of employment, establishment of a severance payment fund to provide for severance payments to employees, payment in lieu of notice, requirements of an employment contract and notification to the Labour Commissioner. These regulations apply to workers generally, whether local or foreign, but do not apply to government employees, who are governed by their own regulations.

iii Rights and duties of sponsored employees

Employees holding work permits are required to work only for the sponsoring employer, in the requested employment. The employee is required to leave the country upon the completion of the work contract.