In 2018, 57 percent of the employed labour 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 Labour 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 in work
In 2018, the Bonaire workforce 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 percentage 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 US origin.
Caribbean Dutch relatively often work in business occupations
Relatively many residents who are natives of the (former) Dutch Antilles and Aruba work in business and administrative occupations. This is the case for both Bonaire (21 percent) and the other two islands, St Eustatius (20 percent) and Saba (18 percent). Among those born in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, 16 percent work in administration while 22 percent work in the civil service and in public administration.
Many Central and South Americans in technical and service occupations
Central and South American persons working in the Caribbean Netherlands are relatively often found in technical and service occupations. Examples are construction worker (27 percent) or cleaner (12 percent). Just under 5 percent work as a waiter or bartender.
On Bonaire, 19 percent of the workforce are found in technical and 15 percent in service occupations. The respective shares for such occupations among Central and South Americans there are 38 and 26 percent; for St Eustatius, the shares are 35 and 20 percent and on Saba 27 and 27 percent.
A relatively large share of the employed on Bonaire who were born in the European part of the Netherlands work as managers, in (health) care and welfare, or in education. Ten percent of the workforce are found in either care or welfare occupations; 6 percent in teaching occupations and 6 percent in management occupations. Among the working population of European Dutch origin, the respective shares are 16, 12 and 11 percent.