The Work Permits Foreign Nationals Act (Wet Werkvergunning Vreemdelingen) prohibits employers to employ foreign nationals who are not in the possession of a work permit. The obligation to apply for a work permit rests upon the employer. The employer can apply for a work permit with the director of the ministry of Employment, Technological Development and Enviroment (dircteur van het ministerie van Arbeid, Technologische Ontwikkeling en Milieu). Non-compliance with this provision will be punished with imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to five hundred thousand Surinamese Dollars (500.- SRD).
An employer is however exempted from obtaining a work permit for an employee when the latter falls within one of the following categories:
- foreigners married to a Surinamese national;
- foreigners who have obtained the status of refugee;
- returned emigrants of Surinamese origin;
- foreigners who are not required to obtain a work permit on the basis of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (Skilled nationals of CARICOM);
- foreigners who will work as a civil servant for the Surinamese Government; and
- foreigners who are exempted from obtaining a work permit on the basis of a bilateral treaty.