Tourism stakeholders to grill immigration

| 23/08/2010

(CNS): The local tourism industry body says it has a number of concerns regarding the service it is receiving from the immigration department and that it could be getting a raw deal compared to other sectors when it comes to key employee. The Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) has set up a meeting for its members with senior immigration staff to allow industry stakeholders to voice concerns get answers to a number of questions and try to address the numerous work-permit problems that the industry is facing.  Harry Lalli, CITA president, who will be raising a number of common concerns expressed by members and the board said: “This is a crucial opportunity for CITA members to be heard and obtain guidance and answers by the Chief Immigration Officer and her team.”

 Linda Evans, Chief Immigration Officer, Danny Scott, Chairman of the Business Staffing Plan Board, Gary Wong,  Deputy Chief Immigration Officer (Enforcement and Intelligence) and Sherryl Miller, Director of Work Permits and Boards will form panel the panel on Tuesday morning to address a wide range of questions from key employee trouble to the level of service.
The president said members are concerned about the lack of a definite time period on processing work permits as some members have said despite paying express fees for temporary permits they are still taking more than 2 days. “It is proving difficult for businesses to gauge the processing time for work permits and a definitive timeline would allow businesses to plan more effectively,” CITA stated.
Members will also be looking for information on the length of time required to be off island due to a roll over as there appears to be some confusion that certain industries are being given preference.
“We need to know if this is rumour or is it a fact,” Lalli said.
CITA is also interested in seeking amendments to work permits held by its members so employees with reduced hours in their primary job function as a result of the economic climate can shift efforts to other areas through a work permit amendment. The industry body stated that this is of particular importance to large operations that could avoid hiring more staff if they utilize their existing employees more effectively. “It is beneficial to the business and to the staff member who receives cross-training and becomes well versed in another position. CITA members want to know if there is a way for those amendments to be fast tracked and the process sped up.” Lalli stated.
Another major concern is the confusing and mixed messages coming from the department. Members say they often receive different answers provided to the same question at the office than that received from phone attendants and Immigration staff. CITA said it is very hard for businesses to get a straight answer or know how to move forward and hopes the meeting will provide an opportunity for the panel to give answers to common work permit related questions.
CITA also said it wants the Immigration Department to consider key employee positions within the Tourism industry. The body is seeking recognition for what it considers some key roles such as maintenance supervisors at condominium or hotel properties. “They know the properties inside out and it is highly beneficial to the company to have that person stay on,” CITA stated. “Another example is an Executive Chef in a restaurant who is crucial to the kitchen and restaurant they helped create. Roll over’s can cost some of our businesses in a large way if appeals for key employee are not taken seriously.”
The organisation says it is also worried about the customer service experienced by visitors to the Cayman Islands. It would appear that on the busiest days at the airports (such as Saturdays) the immigration lines to depart are getting extremely long. CITA warned that as this is the last experience for a visitor it should be a pleasant one and the CITA Members are hoping to hear directly from the Immigration Department how it intends to address this issue.
“Neither the CITA Board of Directors nor our membership wishes to point fingers. We merely wish to find answers and work together to improve the situations at hand and this meeting will be a great
opportunity to further some of these discussions and provide answers,” Lalli said, encouraging all of the membership sectors to attend and participate in order to provide a wide perspective on the challenges faced by the tourism Industry
The meeting is open to CITA members only and will take place at 10.00am until 12 noon Tuesday, 24 August at the Silver Palm, Camana Bay.
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  1. Anonymous says:

    All I will say is, what happens then when you let the ex-pat go and put a Caymanian in his/her place and then said Caymanian sails away 2 months later to greener pastures? Who is coming to help you sort through the mess said Caymanian left behind? This is something that I have seen happen many times at my workplace, which is one of the top employers in these Islands.

    I think that together with education, Caymanians need to be instilled with sound work ethics. The day that happens, I will be happy to clear my space to make room for a Caymanian.

    Thank you.

  2. whodatis says:


    This is my message to my fellow Caymanians.

    Firstly, government needs to introduce a realistic minimum wage in this country and that will decrease a vast amount of the imported / next to slave labour that is so prevalent today.

    This type of labor is NOT necessary regardless of what the powers that be may say. It is akin to the "outsourcing" of jobs from the greater western nations. As everyone was caught being over-patriotic in the past 2 decades – the super-rich and elitist leaders of commerce and business in the western nations were busy further expanding their profit margins by way of removing the blue collar jobs from their societies.

    We need to open our eyes and use what has become of other societies / nations as an advisory warning.

    Government; we need to do away with the levels of imported cheap labour in this country. (When I was growing up we had one of the "highest standards of living in the western hemisphere" for goodness sake! Who’s bright idea (cheap labor) was this anyway? The "cheap labor" business model DOES NOT successfully apply to a (tiny) society such as ours! Our politicians are such ignorant lapdogs – turns my stomach at times!)

    However, most importantly – we HAVE to DIVERSIFY and RE-THINK our approach to what is a "respectable job" – in these global economic times – ANY JOB is a "respectablejob"!!

    A Simple Mathematical Solution:

    (Minimum Wage + Diversification of Caymanian mindset) – Growing Phenomenon of Cheap / Slave labor = A Chance of a Sound Economic Future for Cayman

    Lastly, the simple fact of the matter is that MANY, MANY of our newly arrived residents simply DO NOT like the notion of Caymanians in power.

    Many of them have no intention of actually "integrating" (history has proven this many times in many regions other than the Cayman Islands) – instead, they have hopes and aspirations to rule and dominate, hence the emphasis on "work permit" employees.

    Folks, browse through the pages of your latest Cayman lifestyle / tourism glossy magazine – tell me, do you feel "Cayman" emanating from these publications?

    I think not.

    The simple fact is that we are under attack in our very own country, and the greatest danger (and shame) is that it is our very own people that are allowing this to take place. Interestingly, most of these Caymanians are of the category that commands the most respect and admiration from the masses.

    Open your eyes Cayman. It is okay to be strong and bold. It is okay to demand a stronger position in your own country.

    Our greatest battle is having our people realize how superior is the Caymanian way of life when compared the majority of all the bigger, western nations. These people are flocking here for a reason folks. They want what we have and not many of them are very interested in sharing the rations.

    Oh, and TRUST and BELIEVE that VERY FEW of these individuals will be HAPPY to see Cayman go on to be a success WITHOUT them here to share / control the goodies!! (Hence the – "Okay then, go back to rope-making and turtling." comments that are so commonly found on here.)

    The same old western world dynamics are alive and kicking right here in the Cayman Islands. I have seen it from the age of understanding although many have closed their eyes to this reality.

    Wake up people.

    Diversify or die – simple.

  3. Anonymous says:

    CITA – if you do not know that an employee has to be away for 12 months after rollover before they can be granted another permit you know nothing about these Islands. With that level of ignorance no wonder tourists are confused. With the exception of a few properties you seem to have the worst record of any industry in employing Caymanians and I hope immigration are the ones that grill you. Putting status recipients in the laundry room and housekeeping, and calling it Caymanianisation,  is not going to cut it anymore.    Mrs. Evans, I’d like mine medium rare please.

  4. Anonymous says:

    CITA is to "Grill Immigration"? Let me forewarn you. Immigration is pro-Caymanian, even it means anti-business. It’s only interest is to place a Caymanian body in a job. The better paying, more cushy the job, the more firm Immgration will be. Its irrelevant what knowledge your current employee has. That employee should have been training a Caymanian. Immigration does not care whether your business succeeds or not during this process. If you want to do business here, you must train, train, train. In this economy, only after Caymanians are fully trained and employed, will expats be welcomed again – but only for 7 years. We are taking our island back. 

    • Anonymous says:

      A wonderful example of the "cut nose off to spite face" model of sustainable economic growth. 

      • Anonymous says:

        From the thumbs up / down split one gets a good sense of what readers are thinking.

        • Anonymous says:

          I was a key employee at where I worked for many many years. I developed a terminalillness and I was amazed at the way my boss and foriegn owners behaved. I was flown overseas for medical treatment and I was never even given a bouquet of flowers. We need to seriously look at who we allow in our Country to do business. Again there are some companys who treat staff equally , but they are never usually the  Caribbean Companys. Again I do believe that the Immigration Boards should be made up of Business men who know the Community well. These boards should NEVER EVER BE GIVEN OUT BECAUSE OF POLITICAL SUPPORT. I am tired of reading the Police report of hold ups and saying that the culprit spoke with a Jamaican accent. Perhaps we need to employ some rough neck professional and experienced foriegners for a few months to round up the stinking eggs and ship them back home. Some of their own very good citizens who was here from many years ago will be happy for this. If one just drive around at night you will see how many are here, it is frightening. I wish that the Cops would just stop and put them in their cars and take them to the Station and check them out.

          • Pull the other one says:

            I doubt this post has any basis for truth since how many "key employees" write this badly?  This is a flaming Rooster listener.

          • Anonymous says:

            Are you still terminally ill? If so, I am sorry are are sick and maybe the HR person didn’t know of your terminal illness. Immigration doesn’t care how qualified an expat might be. The only thing Immigration looks at is the ratio of Caymanian to Expat. Caymanians should take advantage of the education opportunities that the Cayman government makes available. I have met Caymanians that were intelligent, well spoken and hard working and our company would give anything to hire more of them (expats are getting very expensive), but unfortunately their are not enough to go around. You can’t take an unquailified person and put them into a position that requires specific qualifications that comes with an education and experience. Any Caymanian that has a little spark, ambition to succeed and willing to get an education will have plenty of employment opportunities. I know a Caymanian that went to school in the US and worked there for a couple of years and came back to Cayman and is very successful. Where I work expats in professional positions MUST have an education, as well as, post education qualifications and experience before we would even consider hiring them. Caymanians are shooting themselves in the foot by not getting that free education that govenment and businesses provide.

          • Hallowe'en Jack says:

            This is BS.

    • saul says:

      Of course, the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration is going to be PRO-CAYMANIAN!  What!?  Were you expecting pro-British, pro-Canadian, pro-Jamaican, or pro-American over their people??? 

      Don’t be stupid!!! 

      Take my advise:  Learn to do what the Romans do!  This is not your country!

      • Anonymous says:

        Did you read before commenting?

        Before you rush to call people "stupid", perhaps you should read the entire post.

        Immigration does have a choice. It can be Pro-Caymanian, or Pro-Cayman. The latter limits the corruption of the few bad eggs in our lot.  

        Immigration could also be anti-expat.


      • Anonymous says:

        Had you been in Rome when Jesus was being crucified, would you have participated? I would imagine yes if you truly believe the saying "When in Rome". It is a pathetic saying to justify all sorts of behavior, good and bad. 

        • Anonymous says:

          well said… i hear it on the radio everyday it’s like the national saying for cayman…..

          it’s just like saying….’when in nazi germany…do what the nazi’s do’

        • Anonymous says:

          Jesus was not crucified in ROME…Get your facts straight…

          • Anonymous says:

            Allow me rephrase. Had you been in Rome when Jesus was killed in Golgotha, a territory under Roman rule, would you have supported the Romans’ decision to kill him? Similarly, had you lived in Rome (or any Roman territory) under the rule of Gaius Julius Ceaser Augustus Germanicus would you have participated in acts of cruelty and sexual perversity?   


            • Anonymous says:

              Sounds like what takes place in Cayman Government…Seriously get real CITA is asking immigration why they mess up, surely if you ran a Hotel and Immigration gave you so many headaches you would as a stakeholder have a right to complain…Don’t elevate this into what it is not…Who in immigration is qualified to tell a 25 year veteran Hotelier who they can and cannot employ to make their business a success…

              Get real protectionism breeds entitlement mentality and a bad work ethic…

              If you make it difficult for businessesto employ good personnel and develop an good loyal staff base, then you are killing the businesses…We have 2200 hotel rooms in Cayman , we are going to make it so difficult to do business, we have less rooms today then before Ivan…

              Most Caymanian’s don’t want the jobs in Tourism , so why the compalining…


      • Pit Bull says:

        As a British citizen, given that this is merely a territory, I consider this my country.

        • Anonymous says:

          That is how it ought to be. I wonder, does Immigration share your view?

      • Anonymous says:

        When in Rome? Slavery existed in Rome and Cayman. Was it right? Would you have supported it? You do know slavery was defended with biblical scriptures. 

    • Anonymous says:

      you might get your island back but with current immigration policies there will be nothing left of it……

      don’t worry you can go back to turtling and rope making….