Business Barbados

Persons seeking to work or reside permanently in Barbados must apply for a work permit or for permanent residency. The stated policy of the Government of Barbados is that all jobs should first be offered to Barbadian nationals before an offer is made to a non-national to fill the position.

Permanent residency is granted only after the applicant has had immigrant status in Barbados for at least 5 years. An application for immigrant status may take a minimum of six months to be processed.

An application for a work permit or for immigrant status should be made and obtained before coming to Barbados, although an applicant may enter on a visitor’s visa and make the application once here. Foreign nationals may not work in Barbados without a work permit.

A short term work permit covers periods of up to one year. A long-term work permit covers periods of one to three years.

Work Permit Applications

Work permits are required for foreign nationals to work in Barbados. In certain circumstances, in the event that the foreign national is a citizen of a member of the Caribbean Community with certain qualifications, a work permit exemption may be applicable.

On an application for a work permit, the following are required:

Long term

  • Completed form C-1 in duplicate — statement of qualifications of non-immigrant
  • Completed form C-2 in duplicate — job offer for non-immigrant employment (to be completed by employer)
  • BDS$300.00 application fee
  • 4 passport size photographs (2 of which must be certified by a lawyer, Justice of the Peace, or Notary Public)
  • Police certificate of character from each place the applicant resided after the age of 16 for six (6) months or more as well as a finger print report of all 10 fingers. Restricted or limited police searches must be accompanied by a sworn affidavit. A sworn affidavit is also required for countries which do not issue police certificates of character.
  • Two written character references
  • Evidence of educational and professional qualifications — originals and a photocopy of each (original will be examined and returned)
  • Medical form completed by a doctor along with Chest x-ray and a separate VDRL report (blood test).
  • Chest x-ray — If the x-ray is done by the consultant at the radiology department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the x-ray itself need not be submitted. If anyone else does it, the original x-ray must be submitted. A Radiologist’s report on the Chest x-ray, issued by a service provider in Barbados, must be submitted.
  • If the applicant has been living in Barbados, a tax clearance certificate
  • Cover letter from prospective employer setting out the nature of the business in which the applicant will be engaged, the period of time in which the applicant will be employed, category of employment and the reason for the request
  • Original and copy of the Certificate and Articles of Incorporation of the employer entity
  • For licenced international business companies (IBC) and international societies with restricted liability (ISRL)- original and copy of the IBC /ISRL licence and the annual fee receipt for the current year
  • If the job was advertised in Barbados (and it should be if it is at all possible that a Barbados resident could apply) the long term work permit application must be accompanied by the full page of the newspaper showing the advertisement, for all issues in which the advertisement was published.
  • A copy of the bio-data page of applicant’s valid passport

A long-term work permit takes approximately three months to be issued.

The fee payable for the issue of a long-term work permit varies according to the length of time the employee will remain in Barbados, and the level of his position. The fee must be paid to the Immigration Department in order to obtain the work permit.

Short Term

  • 4 passport type photographs
  • BDS$300.00 application fee
  • Cover letter from prospective employer setting out the nature of the business in which the applicant will be engaged, the period of time in which the applicant will be employed, his category of employment and the reason for the request
  • Police record from applicant’s place of residence. If the individual is a resident of the United Kingdom, an affidavit must be sworn by the individual in the presence of a Notary Public attesting to the character of that individual
  • Police Certificate of Character from each place that the prospective employee has been residing for more than six (6) months since the age of 16 as well as a finger print report of all 10 fingers
  • Restricted or limited police searches must be accompanied by a Sworn Affidavit. A Sworn Affidavit is also required for countries which do not issue police certificates of character.
  • Completed Form C-3 Application for short-term work permit in duplicate
  • A copy of the bio-data page of applicant’s valid passport

A short-term work permit takes about one month to be issued.

Special Entry and Reside Permits for Investors

An individual who owns substantial property or has made a substantial investment in Barbados may apply for a Special Entry and Reside Permit (“SERP”) which gives him/her the right to reside, but not to work in Barbados. A SERP holder is entitled to make a separate application for a work permit.

To be considered for a SERP, the applicant must own substantial residential property or have a significant investment in Barbados. The investment may include rental real estate, property development projects, manufacturing, tourism, bank deposits, mutual funds or bonds or any financial instrument. The value of the property or investment must be two million dollars United States currency (US$2,000,000.00) or more. The property or investment must have been purchased/made with funds sourced outside of Barbados and property must not be subject to a mortgage.

The permit is valid for a period of five (5) years, and is renewable.

The holder of an SERP will be entitled to apply for a Barbados driver’s licence

Special Entry and Reside Permits for High Net Worth Individuals

A high net worth individual (HNWI) may apply for a Special Entry Permit (SEP) which gives him/her the right to reside, but not to work in Barbados. An SEP holder is entitled to make a separate application for a work permit.

To be considered, a HNWI the applicant must have net assets of not less than ten million dollars Barbados currency (BDS$10,000,000.00), (the equivalent of approximately five million dollars United States currency (US$5,000,000.00) and must have health insurance coverage of at least one million dollars Barbados currency (approximately US$500,000.00).

This net asset threshold must be met for 5 consecutive years otherwise the SEP may be withdrawn.