Majority of Workers on Islands are (still) Antillean

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According to information from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the majority of the employed on the 3 islands are of (Netherlands) Antillean origin. Photo: Archive BES-Reporter

Kralendijk -According to figures from the Central Bureau for Statistics, in 2018, 57 percent of the employed labor force (aged 15 to 74 years) in the Caribbean Netherlands were natives of the (former) Dutch Antilles and Aruba.

On Bonaire this was 58 percent, on St Eustatius 56 percent and on Saba 51 percent. This is shown by the latest figures from the 2018 Labor Force Survey (LFS) conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Employers in the Caribbean Netherlands are required to make a number of mandatory efforts to fill their vacancies with local employees. Only when this is unsuccessful, they may hire staff from elsewhere outside the islands. No work permit is required for native Dutch persons from Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten or Europe, nor for Americans. The work permit requirement does apply to people from any other country, although a few exceptions are made in certain lines of work.

More people at work

In 2018, the workforce in Bonaire stood at 11.2 thousand, approximately 500 more than in 2016. The share of people in work who were born in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom was up by 1 percentage point last year, to 58 percent.

Likewise, both St Eustatius and Saba had a larger workforce in 2018 compared to 2016, adding 250 and 190 persons respectively. Currently, St Eustatius has a workforce of 1.9 thousand, for Saba this is 1.2 thousand. Most newly employed are people who were born in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. In 2018, they accounted for 56 percent of the workforce on St Eustatius (+2 percentage points) and 51 percent of those employed on Saba (also +2 percentage points).

In addition, the share of Central and South Americans rose on all three islands; Bonaire saw a relatively sharp rise by 2 percentage points to 24 percent in 2018.

The share of European Dutch persons among the workforce of Bonaire remained unchanged, and is still considerably larger than on the two other Caribbean Dutch islands.

On Saba, which has an American medical university, there is also a relatively large share of employed people of US origin.

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