Non-resident foreigners in Cuba can work in Mariel Special Development Zone

(140128) -- HAVANA, Jan. 28, 2014 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken on Jan. 27, 2013 shows the first phase of the Cuba's Special Development Zone in the port of Mariel, about 50 kilometers west of Havana, capital of Cuba. Cuban leader Raul Castro and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Monday inaugurated the first phase of the Cuba's Special Development Zone in the port of Mariel, a project largely financed by Brazil. (Xinhua/Liu Bin)(axy)

HAVANA, Dec. 9  Companies in Cuba’s Mariel Special Development Zone will be able to directly employ foreigners without permanent residency in Cuba, the Ministry of Laborand Social Security (MTSS) announced Friday.

In a statement announcing the new regulation, the ministry said non-resident foreigners can comprise up to 15 percent of the labor force hired by companies in the zone. In exceptional cases, the MTSS could also approve a higher percentage of foreign workers.

The statement also said that “these people can remain and work in the country, meeting the relevant migratory, fiscal and labor regulations.”

Until now, labor rules for Mariel stated that “employees working in the zone must be, as a general rule, permanent residents in Cuba, whether Cuban or foreigners.”

The new regulation also allows foreign employees to fill “management positions or certain technical positions, under the approval of the relevant authority.”

Mariel, located 45km west of Havana, was inaugurated in 2013 with the goal of becoming Cuba’s main entry and exit point for foreign trade. It includes a modern container terminal, with the capacity to attend to the largest cargo shipping class, Super-Post-Panamax.

Currently, 19 businesses have been approved for the zone, with seven already operating, including in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, finance and banking, and construction industries.