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Free Movement Of Persons In the Eastern Caribbean

The Free Movement of persons in the Eastern Caribbean is limited to a space known as the OECS Economic Union (ECEU). The OECS Economic Union or the ECEU was established on June 18th 2010 through the signing of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre (RTB). It constitutes a single financial and economic space within which all factors of production including goods, services, capital, enterprises and people can move freely throughout the Economic Union Area which comprises seven (7) Protocol Member States: 

  Antigua and Barbuda,

  Commonwealth of Dominica



 Saint Kitts and Nevis

 Saint Lucia

 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The key benefits of the free movement of persons in the ECEU include the following:

  1. 1. Indefinite Stay: Citizens of Protocol Member States and their family members (spouse and dependents) can live in any Protocol Member State indefinitely receiving an indefinite stay stamp upon arrival at the immigration desks (OECS Free Movement Indefinite Stay Stamp)  
  2. 2. Hassle-free Travel: Citizens of Protocol Member States can travel within the ECEU with a valid government issued ID such as a driver’s license, national identification card and voter cards.
  3. Mutual Recognition of Driver’s License: Citizens of Protocol Member States can drive within any Protocol Member State using a valid driver’s license issued by their home country. 
  4. No Work Permit: Citizens of Protocol Member States and their third-country spouse can work in any Protocol Member State without obtaining a work permit.
  5. Social Security: Citizens of Protocol Member States and their spouse are entitled to the portability of social security benefits.
  6. Contingent Rights: Citizens of Protocol Member States and their spouse and dependent(s) (including those of a third-country nationality) have equal access to numerous rights and freedoms with respect to employment, education, healthcare, and social protection within the host Protocol Member State when they move between Member States to reside and work. These benefits are fully expressed in the OECS Contingent Rights Policy.

Initiatives Advancing Free Movement of Persons Regime

The OECS Commission through the Regional Integration Unit (RIU) of the Division of Economic Affairs and Regional Integration (EARID) is currently implementing several initiatives to advance the Free Movement of Persons in the ECEU. Two of these initiatives include:

  1. Creating a Regime for the Portability of Short-term Social Security Benefits and,
  2. Full Implementation of the OECS Contingent Rights Policy

Additionally, the RIU is currently implementing two other supporting Initiatives that are committed to advancing the free movement of persons in the wider Eastern Caribbean: 

  1. Mutual recognition of Digital IDs and authentication across borders
  2. Harmonised Border Management Systems and Procedure
  3. Investment in ICT at the borders through the installation of kiosk machines and implementation of Online Embarkation and Disembarkation forms

1 - Portability of Short-term Social Security Benefits 

Portability of Short-term Social Security Benefits

Portability of Short-Term Social Security Benefits is an initiative that seeks to implement legal and administrative arrangements to allow for a Citizen of the OECS and his/her spouse and family members to access short-term benefits such as sickness and maternity immediately upon settling in a host Protocol Member State.

The portability of the short-term social security benefits regime provides for all citizens of OECS protocol Member States, and their family members including spouses and dependents. The beneficiary countries include Antigua and Barbuda, The Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.


  • Increase access to social security benefits within the Economic Union
  • Strengthen and harmonized Social Security Systems


  • Drafting and seeking Cabinet Approval of the Benefits Regulation
  • Drafting and seeking Cabinet Approval of the Memorandum of Agreement

Partners of Project

This initiative has been developed in collaboration with the National Insurance Schemes / Social security Boards in each protocol Member State.

2 - OECS Contingent Rights Policy

OECS Contingent Rights Policy

The OECS Contingent Rights implementation initiative is advanced to bring effect to Article 12 of the Protocol of the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union which states.

  • Citizens of Protocol Member States shall enjoy in the Economic Union area the right contingent to the right of freedom of movement that is agreed by the Protocol Member States.

The initiative has several components, i.e. the review of the implementation of the contingent right policy, drafting and enactment of the OECS Contingent Rights Model Bill and development and implementation of a Public Advocacy strategy. The public advocacy strategy will result in the following outcomes:

  • Mapping of Stakeholders; 
  • Road map (including strategies, necessary tools and communication outputs to engage various stakeholders) 

The successful implementation of the project will cause a significant change in how OECS Citizens and their families have treated at the ports of entry the extent to which OECS Citizens can move freely with their families of third-country nationality; how they access tier right to work, the right to education and healthcare, as well as other rights under social protection/social safety net mechanisms.

The initiative is being implemented by the OECS Commission and the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) in the seven (7)  Protocol Members States: Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and The Grenadines. It will impact a wide range of agencies including those associated with immigration, labour, education, healthcare, social protection, social security and social protection/transformation. 


The goal and purpose of the project are to bring into full effect a key element of the Free movement of person Regime within the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union as envisioned by enabling a hassle-free environment for OECS Citizens and their families to work and live. The specific. objectives of the project are as follows: 

  • Establishing formalities and guidelines for the proper treatment of OECS Citizens and their families of third-country nationality at the port of entry 
  • Improving the environment for OECS Citizens to move freely with their families of third-country nationality within the Eastern Caribbean Economic Union.
  • Improving the access of the spouse of an OECS Citizens who is of a third-country nationality to employment;
  • Improving access to OECS Citizens and their families to education, healthcare, social protection and social safety net mechanisms. 


  • Review of member states' actions toward the full implementation of the Contingent Right Policy 
  • Draft and support the enactment of the Model Contingent Rights Bill; 
  • Develop and implement a public advocacy campaign

Read the OECS Contingent Rights Policy

1 - Mutual Recognition of Digital ID for Strengthening Cross-Border Movement of Persons and facilitating Ease of Doing Business 


The OECS ID initiative builds on national efforts toward the strengthening of the national ID system and seeks to facilitate the ease of data sharing across countries within the OECS. The sharing of civil registration data, health status, driver’s license and other critical personal data and biometric information will be facilitated using an agreed system(s) for achieving authentication of digital credentials being presented at the borders or in the country for the conduct of business and other personal transactions.

The system being implemented will also support the following goals at the national level:

  • Strengthening the foundational and functional “digital” identity systems
  • Introduction and issuance of the unique identifiers at birth at the national and regional level
  • Digitalization of the ID system for enhance sharing of data nationally and across borders in the OECS.

2 - Creating a Single Domestic Space in the OECS

OECS image for unit page4

The creation of a Single Domestic Space (SDS) where citizens of the Protocol Member States and third-country nationals can travel and move with greater freedom within the OECS is being advanced through the following initiatives:

  • Harmonisation of Border Management Systems and Procedures
  • Streamlining border procedures through the introduction of Online ED Forms and Kiosk Machines
  • Establishment of a Single Visa Regime 

In addition to creating efficiencies at the borders, the SDS will also support the advancement of the multi-destination tourism initiative supported by the OECS Member States. 



Clarence Henry
Senior Technical Officer - Regional Integration
Tel: +1 (758) 455-6360


Shekeri Gravillis
Technical Specialist - Regional Integration
Tel: +1 (758) 455-6361

Natasha Augustin
Senior Administrative Assistant, Office of the Director of Economic Affairs and Regional Integration
Tel: +1 (758) 455-6423

Learn More About Free Movement In The Eastern Caribbean

The OECS Commission has been partnering with national agencies such as the ministries of national security, departments of customs and excise, diaspora units, labour departments and social security boards, national insurance schemes, and international agencies that support initiatives associated with this thematic area. 


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Saint Lucia Flag
Commonwealth of Dominica Flag
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Flag
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