Work permit fees to change

| 02/12/2008

(CNS): Government has said the changes to work permit fee structures are not a revenue generating measure, but one related to clarity, and employers should find themselves paying less fees for their staff rather than more with the introduction of a new schedule of fees designed to address problem areas. In particular, directors below the rank of Managing Director or CEO will now pay a lower rate that the current top fee.

One of a number of changes taking place to the Immigration Law, the department will now offer a lower fee for directors who fall below the top level of management, such as HR directors, sales directors or IT directors. These posts under the old system were charged at the top rate of CI$17,000 but now they will be rated at CI$12,500.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said the introduction of a more detailed schedule of fees was as a result of calls from the private sector for greater clarity and consistency in application with respect to fees for particular occupations. In producing this new fee table the Department of Immigration worked closely with the Department of Employment Relations and representatives from the private sector to ensure that all occupations within each industry represented here have been specified,” he said.

Explaining the new senior staff fee, he said that ,at present, the most senior executives — chief executive officers and managing directors, who must possess a professional qualification for their position — pay an annual work permit fee of $17,500. This is the most expensive fee that is charged for any immigration category. The next fee below this paid by professional managers, such as accountants, doctors, and bankers, is $7,500.

It was considered that the disparity between these two fees is excessive. A new fee has therefore been created in the amount of $12,500 which will apply to persons employed in the level below the most senior executives,” Tibbetts added. He said the fee of $7,500 would continue to apply to those professionals to whom it applies now, namely accountants, bankers and lawyers. “We believe that this is a more equitable approach and it was not objected to when the revised Schedule of Fees was circulated to private sector organizations for comment.

The fee structure is also changing with regards to the grant of permanent residency.  The LoGB said that, previously, the fee payable depended on whether the person was employed in an unskilled, skilled or professional occupation. With only three possible outcomes, this was considered unfair to those who were either considered skilled or professional but whose incomes were not as high as other occupations within those designations,” he added, explaining that a teacher or nurse and a managing director would be required to pay the same fee of $5,000. It was therefore decided to introduce a system where the fee payable is based on the person’s annual income, and there would be six income ranges with fees set incrementally as the income bands increased.”

From now on, a teacher under the new system earning between $43,000 and $59,000 per annum would pay a fee of $2,000 whereas a managing director earning in excess of $100,000 per annum would pay $6,000. We consider that this is a much fairer basis upon which to assess permanent residence fees,” Tibbetts noted.

Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson confirmed that he did not expect any of the new fee schedules to necessarily generate income but that they were designed to be fairer and more clear and concise.



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  1. Anonymous says:

    "The issue has nothing to do with your national origin. Whether you are from Ja. or UK, a permanentresident must pay an annual fee for the right to work." It has everything to do with national origin, it applies if you are not Caymanian. It is as clear an example as there can be.

    "Any country must have the ability to favour its own citizens over non-citizens when it comes to employment." Not a country to which the European Convention applies, such as Cayman. Any restrictions must comply with Art. 14 and discrimination against permanent residents is unlikely to show the "very weighty reasons would have to be put forward before [a State] could regard a difference of treatment based exclusively on the ground on nationality as compatible with the Convention".

    "if the fees are required by the law they are by definition not illegal"  Why don’t you give Jacqui Smith a call and ask how legal the UK fingerprinting law is now?



    • Anonymous says:

      If your interpretation of discrimination on the basis of national origin were correct it would defeat every immigration law and voting rights law that exists anywhere since it would extend beyond permanent residents to work permit holders.  In the U.S., a signatory to the European Convention, the US Supreme Court (Espinoza v. Farah) has held that an employer’s refusal to hire a person because he is not a United States citizen does not constitute employment discrimination on the basis of "national origin".

      The UK discriminates in favour of the citizens of other EU countries over other foreigners, and indeed as between EU citizens from different EU countries.  

      Here is an example for you to ponder: Under the Treaty there is freedom of movement of EU citizens to other EU countries. However, the UK has suspended this for 7 years for Bulgarians and Romanians (whose countries were admitted to the EU in 2007).

      Do you still think there is no discrimination anywhere for countries who are signatories to the European Convention?   

      It would be a relatively simple matter for Cayman to establish a derogation in any event.  

      The Decision of the European Court on Human Rights did not make the UK Fingerprinting law "illegal". That is not how it works. The UK  does not have a US style constitution where a court (in this case a non-domestic court) can strike down a law as unconstitutional.  

    • Anonymous says:

      The last post is correct. The EC Treaty (whose members are signatories to the European Convention) permits discrimination on the basis of nationality. In particular Council Directive 2000/43/EC Implementing the Principle of Equal Treatment Between Persons Irrespective of Racial or Ethnic Origin and Council Directive 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation both include this express exception:

      "3(2). This Directive does not cover difference of treatment based on nationality and is without prejudice to provisions and conditions relating to the entry into and residence of third-country nationals and stateless persons on the territory of Member States, and to any treatment which arises from the legal status of the third-country nationals and stateless persons concerned".

      That would seem to cover the point of Caymanians vs. non-Caymanians. Cayman can hardly be held to a different standard than the actual signatories to the European Convention.


  2. Anonymous says:

    The fingerprint law has become illegal too after yesterday’s decision striking down the UK fingerprint law.

  3. Anonymous says:

    "Work permit fees and work permits for permanent residents are examples illegal discrimination on basis of national origin".

    Since you are clearly not a lawyer (or at least not a competent one) I would shy away from giving legal opinions if  I were you. Wrong on all counts. The issue has nothing to do with your national origin. Whether you are from Ja. or UK, a permanent resident must pay an annual fee for the right to work. Second, if the fees are required by the law they are by definition not illegal. Any country must have the ability to favour its own citizens over non-citizens when it comes to employment. Anything less would make a mockery of citizenship.       


  4. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t it be alot easier to just make a fee on the percentage of a wage, or does that just smell like income tax.

  5. Anonymous says:
    This is great news however!
    I feel that Teachers- Police Officers- nurses (Public Health service staff) should not have to pay WP fees in respect to their dedication and hard work to the community.
    Persons who care for the Elderly or hadicapped should not have to pay fees also- because these families have such  great expense just caring and then to be asked to pay 400 or more is a heart- attack on income if any?
    Could these not be exempt even if just for nursing and care for sick and elderly? (helpers)
    I think Fees should be increased for those Jobs can be filled locally (Residents/citizens) but I asume this can not be so- how else would Immigration have Objectives and fees be paid? This is how the Cookie Crumble-
    I miss the old Cayman- The Cayman where caymanians were Caymanians………..
  6. Anonymous says:

    Work permit fees and work permits for permanent residents are examples illegal discrimination on basis of national origin.  In the next year employers who have to pay these illegal fees will be able to get them back.   PR residents whose work prospects are harmed by this system (or who are not allowed to compete with Cayamanians on other jobs on an equal basis) will be able to claim substantial damages from CIG.   These are both significant contigent liabilties for the Government and this new law will only make things worse.