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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 elements of the free movement of persons in the OECS Economic Union include the following:

  1. Indefinite Stay: OECS Citizens and their family members (spouse and dependents) can live in any Protocol Memeber State Indefinitely receiving an indefinite stay stamp upon arrival (OECS Free Movement Indefinite Stay Stamp) 
  2. Hassle-free Travel: OECS Citizens can travel with the ECEU with a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license, national identification card and voter card.
  3. Mutual Recognition of Driver’s License -  OECS Citizens can also drive within any Protocol Member State using a valid driver’s license issued by their home country. 
  4. No Work Permit: OECS Citizens and their third-country spouse can work in any Protocol Member State without obtaining a work permit.
  5. Social Security: OECS Citizens and their spouse are entitled to the portability of both long-term and short-term social security benefits.
  6. Contingent Rights: OECS Citizens 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 withinin the host Protocol Member State when they move between Member States. of residence. These are fully expressed in the OECS Contingent Rights Policy. 


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 support the Free Movement of Persons in the OECS Economic Union. Two of these initiatives include:

  1. Creating a Regime for the Portability of Short-term Social Security Benefits and,

  2. Implementation of the OECS Contingent Rights Policy 

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

  1. OECS ID for mutual recognition and authentication across borders

  2. Harmonized Border Management Systems and Procedure

  3. Investment in ICT at the Borders (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 is a project which looks at the constitutions of each members states and tackles any legal and administrative arrangement that prevents a  Citizen of the OECS from receiving short-term benefits such as sickness, medical, etc. Following a new registration with Social Security or a break in contributions.

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 - OECS ID for Strengthening Cross-Border Movement of Persons and facilitating Ease of Doing Business


The OECS Unique ID Project 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 through the use of a platform that will provide for the authentication of IDs 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 are able to travel and move with greater freedom within the OECS is being advanced through the following initiatives:

  • Harmonization of Border Management Systems and Procedures
  • Streamlining border procedures through the introduction of Online ED Forms and Kiosk Machines
  • Establishing 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

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