St Maarten Work Permits: Five things you need to know before you start

St Maarten Work Permits: Five things you need to know before you start

Since the pandemic, the current employment market globally has been ever-changing and very dynamic. Statistics show that employers are sourcing skilled employees often remotely. At BrightPath, we offer regional solutions for immigration, corporate, and banking services that support your business, and in the case of work permits; support your Human Resources department, saving your company time and money.

Work Permits in Sint Maarten

Work permits in Sint Maarten are requested by the prospective employer and require a two-part process with the labor and immigration departments. Read this article below on five things you must know before applying for a work permit in St. Maarten.

A work permit is granted for a definite period beginning and the validity of the work permit is determined by the labor agreement and usually is not granted for a period exceeding one (1) year. In adherence with local labor and immigration policy, all (local and foreign) employers who engage in an employment agreement with a non-national in St. Maarten must apply for a work permit, except for the following:

  • Dutch citizens and United States citizens who have obtained legal residency in St Maarten
  • Persons having a residence permit for an indefinite period (commonly referred to as “permanent residency”);
  • A person married to a Dutch citizen; the latter having been registered in St Maarten;


1. Verifiable Documents must be Readily Available

BrightPath can support you in sourcing the right candidate BEFORE you have extended a formal offer of employment.  This is important because for work permits in St Maarten, diplomas and relevant skill certificates should be presented in their original form when applying for the employment permit. Further, the documents must be validated by the issuing educational institution and a letter from the institution confirming that the diploma is authentic must also be obtained. If presenting copies, these must be notarized by a licensed notary in the country of origin.  Oftentimes, candidates have difficulties understanding and managing these complexities when obtaining these requirements.  For this reason, many human resource specialists trust in BrightPath to guide them in the work permit and residency permit process relying on the suite of services offered by our team of experts.

2. Work Experience must be substantiated

When applying for a work permit in St. Maarten, the petition to employ a foreign national and seek a work permit in connection to the same must justify to the Department of Labor that the non-national employee possesses a skillset that cannot be found on the island.  To substantiate the request, BrightPath recommends that the applicant provide employment reference letters from previous employers.  These professional employment reference letters must be notarized in the country of origin and are provided to verify the period of previous employment and work-related experience in support of what will be the applicant’s new role and responsibilities under this proposed employment in St Maarten.

3. Stay Abroad During the Application Process

Unless the prospective employee holds Dutch or American (USA) citizenship, the applicant must await the decision for both work and residency permits while remaining abroad.  For planning purposes, aside from the time allotted to source the documentation, the process starts once all documents have been received by BrightPath.  Usually, a mandatory five-week waiting period must be observed, during which time the position must be advertised in local traditional media outlets, and a reasonable timeframe is given for suitable candidates within the local labor pool to apply.  In some instances, with a written petition prepared and submitted, our firm can obtain consideration for the waiver of this waiting period if the role is essential and it can be substantiated that no suitable candidates can be sourced from within the local labor market.  In addition to the five weeks, a maximum six-week waiting period is allocated to the adjudication process at the Labor Department.

4. Employers (not employees) are the Petitioner

The employer must request work permits. Moreover, evidence of tax compliance is a pre-requisite for all employers seeking to acquire a work permit for a foreign employee in St Maarten.  For this reason, we explicitly detail that if you are seeking employment in St. Maarten, our firm DOES NOT offer recruitment services, and our immigration services must be retained by the employer and not the employee.

5. Health Insurance is Mandatory

For application purposes, health insurance is now a pre-requisite for the work and residency permit process. Therefore, employers must verify that their foreign employees hold a valid health insurance policy.  This health insurance policy must be accepted by the Sint Maarten Medical Center.  For more information on medical insurance related to work and residency permits, rely on the team at BrightPath to provide you with accurate information.



1. What are the essential documents required for applying for a work permit in St. Maarten, and how can BrightPath assist employers in sourcing the right candidates with validated credentials?

To apply for a work permit in St. Maarten, employers must ensure that verifiable documents such as original diplomas and skill certificates are readily available, validated by the issuing institution, and accompanied by a confirmation letter. BrightPath can support employers in sourcing candidates with validated credentials before extending formal offers of employment, ensuring compliance with work permit requirements.

2. How can applicants substantiate their work experience when applying for a work permit in St. Maarten, and why are employment reference letters crucial in this process?

Applicants seeking a work permit in St. Maarten must justify their skillset by providing employment reference letters from previous employers, notarized in the country of origin. These letters verify previous employment and work-related experience, supporting the applicant’s suitability for the proposed role. BrightPath advises applicants on the importance of substantiating their work experience to meet the Department of Labor’s requirements.

3. What is the process for obtaining work and residency permits in St. Maarten for foreign nationals, and why is it necessary for applicants to remain abroad during the application process?

Prospective employees seeking work and residency permits in St. Maarten, unless Dutch or American citizens, must await permit decisions while remaining abroad. The process begins once all required documents are received by BrightPath, including a mandatory waiting period for labor market advertising. Employers can petition for a waiver of this waiting period under certain circumstances. BrightPath outlines the process and advises applicants to remain abroad during the application process to ensure compliance and facilitate a smooth transition.

Do you have additional questions?

To learn more about how BrightPath Caribbean can support your business in successfully obtaining work and residency permits for key personnel, schedule your free consultation today.


Disclaimer: Our articles are not intended as (legal) advice and do not take your personal circumstances into consideration. BrightPath does not accept any liability for damages resulting from using the provided information. We highly recommend you to seek personalized advice from us or before you act or fail to act because of the content of our articles. BrightPath is a privately-owned consulting firm that assists clients with filing applications for residence permits and/or business licenses at the relevant government departments. None of our directors, employees or agents hold or have held any position with the government of Sint Maarten and our service does not provide for any preferential treatment with regards to any application. All information provided and statements made only serve to provide you with a general understanding of immigration, residence and business incorporation procedures on Sint Maarten.
BrightPath Caribbean