HEADLINES

Four years on since the implementation of the free movement of OECS Nationals.

 WENDY_CHATEAU_WEBBIECastries, St.Lucia (August 9th 2015):- –In 2011 the six Member States of the OECS Economic union, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines agreed that on Monday August 1st , they would permit citizens of Protocol Member States to enter their territories and remain for an indefinite period in order to work, establish businesses, provide services or reside.

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Free movement of citizens from OECS Member States is one of the fundamental aspects of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union, which entered into force on January 21, 2011.

Four years on all seven Protocol Member States (including Montserrat) are implementing the regime. The OECS Commission lauds this as a significant milestone in the move to establish the single economic and financial space and commits to continue the enhancement of the regime to ensure all citizens can fully enjoy their rights.

In a recent interview with the OECS News Link ( www.oecs.org) a resident of Grenada Wendy Chateau expressed her pleasure while gleefully showing off her passport stamped “indefinite stay” upon her arrival in Saint Lucia: “Free movement of OECS Nationals is working and I have the proof right here.”

Another citizen Brenton Henry originally of Dominica but based in Antigua and Barbuda told the OECS News Link although he welcomes the free movement initiative, consideration should be given to the number of times one’s passport should be stamped if he or she travels very frequently over short periods throughout the oecs economic union: “I do a lot of travelling throughout the OECS sometimes over just a few months and the stamps use up a lot of space on my passport. In this case I am suggesting that a system be in place where one stamp in an OECS Member State could get me through other ports throughout the OECS over a stipulated period.”

In order to facilitate the free movement of citizens, the following administrative arrangements and procedures are in effect in and Member States have passed these provisions into to law:

OECS citizens traveling within the Economic Union should enter the special immigration lines designated for OECS Citizens.

OECS citizens traveling within the Union must produce the following documents to the immigration Officials at the point of entry: –

A valid government issued photo identification card that bears the nationality of the holder, for example, a passport, driver’s license, voter’s registration card or a national ID card.

A completed E/D form.

The immigration official shall grant entry for an indefinite period, save and except in those circumstances where the citizen poses a security risk.

Persons who require additional information or interested in giving feedback are encouraged to contact the Regional Integration Unit of their Member State. They may also contact the OECS Secretariat in St. Lucia at telephone (758)-455-6327 or send us an e-mail:oesec@oecs.org or shbique@oecs.org with a copy to ccombie@oecs.org. Information is also available on the OECS website www.oecs.org.

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