Immigration bill could change

| 14/10/2013

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has stated that government is still listening to the concerns of the people regarding the planned changes to the immigration law that will, among other things, remove the key employee and the seven year term limit, enabling every ex-pat worker to make an application for permanet residency if they stay long enough. Government officials and elected members are currently visiting all the districts to explain the plans, and McLaughlin said that the government could still make changes to the bill when it comes to the Legislative Assembly sometime next week during the committee stage, based on the submissions and comments it is receiving. As he welcomed people protesting the bill into the LAlast Friday, he said government was not turning a blind eye or deaf ear to their concerns.

Balancing the needs of the business community to attract, recruit and retain the most talented workers with the need to address growing local unemployment is becoming increasingly difficult, and government is hoping to tackle the issue with a new fairer and more precise immigration regime.

But with the perceived marginalisation of Caymanians in the workplaceand glass ceiling that some claim is increasingly difficult for local workers to break through, as well as the importation of foreign cheap labour squeezing out Cayman workers from the lower or non-skilled jobs, the opposition to allowing more people to stay longer, even if they don’t get PR in what will be a more stringent new regime, has sparked criticism of the bill.

Nevertheless, government is attempting to win the hearts and minds of the people as it continues its district road-show and McLaughlin made it clear that people could submit their concerns, which would be given consideration. Although he has not yet indicated what areas of the law could be tweaked during the passage of the bill, he said he was well aware that not everyone in country was supportive of proposed changes.

In addition to the meetings, he said, government had spent a considerable amount of time on the radio and TV explaining the changes and the expected impact in an effort to address some of the misconceptions that were fuelling the opposition.

“We know, given the present circumstances with unemployment, their main concerns about the impact and we are taking on board those concerns … and we are still receiving feedback,” he said, noting that he wanted to assure the protestors who had taken part in the March Friday morning, who were in the gallery, that written concerns and submissions would be accepted,as would the petition if it was submitted to him.

“There is still a chance to make some adjustments at the committee stage,” he added, as he encouraged people to submit comments.

The planned changes are causing considerable debate and in some case fuelling existing divisions between locals and ex-pat workers, as well as the parliamentarians. Aside from opposition from the independent members, even government is believed to still be divided over the issue. Veteran PPM backbencher Anthony Eden revealed in his vigorous contribution to the budget debate that he does not support all elements of the law. As a backbencher he will be able to vote for or against or abstain.

However, despite the public disquiet, the anticipated changes are, according to the premier, designed to reduce the number of guest workers that will get through the PR process and ultimately go on to get status. But he has also confirmed that there is no set measure about the numbers that would be acceptable. The premier told CNS following the West Bay public meeting that the government has no plans to set quotas on permits or PR applicants and that there were no plans to set an ideal figure for the increase in the population each year via PR and then status.

The Cayman Status and Permanent Residency Board processed a total of 494 applications in the quarter ending 13 June alone, and while 39 applications were deferred only 11 percent were refused.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    For those that are saying that expats are THE most important, find some tact.

    For those that are saying that expats aren't needed, find reality. 

    What was there last election? 17000 thousand registered voters? Let's round it up to 20000 since I'm not sure. What is the population right now? Isn't it around 50000?

    So, do the math. This isn't BVI or Turks and Caicos or Bermuda where the expats are a small portion of the community. Expats here are the majority. If it weren't for expat workers, this country simply could not function on the level that it does. 

    If the expats left as a small radical number of locals suggest they should, there would be devastation to the economy, to education, to tourism and the list goes on. 

    If the government and people here understood a bit better and valued a bit more the contributions that expats make in so many ways to this beautiful country perhaps there would be less mud slinging and division and more community building to make this the best country in the word. Unfortunatly, with only 17 – 20 thousand voters, the politicians don't do what is right for the country and instead cater to the lowest common denominator, appealing to emotions rather than common sense, and in the end resulting in worsening division and friction between the expat and local communities who live here. 

    For the Cayman Islands to reach her full potential requires expats. Plain and simple. There is no way around this. And not just bankers and lawyers either. It requires people of all economic levels and backgrounds. Why not make rules that welcome people and encourage them to make this their lifelong home? What good is creating a constant turnover of transient workers? The newsuggested PR rules are clearly designed to cut out the middle and lower classes, leaving only the highest income earners with enough points to succeed. How does that serve the goal of making the Cayman Islands better? I guess the Premier doesn't see value in the expat middle classes being considered a part of the long term community here. Btw – anyone protesting that these changes to the law are going to result in a drain on social services through the importation of poverty clearly haven't read or understood the proposals and how hard it will be for many of the TELP holders to get PR. I have made a decent middle class wage at the same job for the past 8 years. I was granted key employee. I was planning to make this my lifelong home and go for PR next. With the changes, it's impossible. So now my employer and the economy in general will lose an experienced and productive member of society and change me out for another expat. What end does this serve? Changing out someone who was committed to living here for someone new who learns upon arrival that the rules are stacked against them and so best to not invest too much in the place. Oh, and why did I say that I would be swapped out for another expat? Well, because in the 8 years that I've been doing my job, not one single Caymanian person has expressed an interest in the position. Fair enough. There is nothing wrong with not finding my position and level of pay interesting or worthwhile but that simply means that an expat will be required to do the job. 

    I would like to see more integration of the expat and local communities. I would enjoy more opportunties to socialize and mix with local people. I think it is harder to hate and denigrate others when you look them in the eyes. Both sides need to stop the rhetoric and government needs to do some work to bring communities together not drive them apart through divisive policies that are detrimental to the economic, educational and community goals of this wonderful place. 

     

     

  2. Kmanmade says:

    Making ordinary Caymanian householders go to the expense of advertising for the renewal of domestic helper permits is pointless and will only benefit the profits of the local newspapers who are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of two weeks worth of adverts.

    Caymanian families simply want to keep our trusted domestic helpers for the maximum period allowed. If the term limit is to be 9 years let us have our permits for that period.

    Please make a provision to allow this. These domestics are not candidates for PR.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Who would want to have PR and be liable for the debts of this island. As a citizen you are liable for the money your country owes right now each Caymanian owes about 18,000 and growing daily.That means this country is Broke.

    Dont compare it to other countrys they have whats called natural resources. 

    • Anonymous says:

      And the reason we are broke is in large part due to a mass importation of poverty and lack of investment in our own people who are unable to be as productive as they might through unfair competition from foreign nationals.

    • Anonymous says:

      Come, put 30% of salary in the bank each month, save as much on top of that as you can, leave with the pile of money after five or six years, take out your pension two years later.  Easy.

    • And Another Ting says:

      The truth of the matter is as the now Premier once was quoted to say : my thoughts are still evolving.  Let me say this to ya Mr. Premier, stop spinning round and round, ya beginning to mke us all giddy.  Get up Stand up for the right of your people and do the honorable thing,; provide a period of time for the exit of these workers which will allow for caymannians yow either be trained or hired and for the compnaies ( in consultation with appropriate labor bobtain odies) once they are able to prove that there are no caymanians available, will then and can then work permits.Why is it so hard to undestand that at this stage of our economic base, we need to control our economy and provide a living for most if not all caymannians.  Why is it that your Government has chosen this path of self political destruction, is it because the pressuer is being brought to bear by your foreign and local business handlers? or is it because you dont know how to handle this.Let me tell all a you in Governemnt this, place our people in the hotel industry, including civil srvants thus reducing the civil service bill and obtaining emplyment for the unemploye, with supervised and agreed trainng of course..  Start the minimum wage batlte, ( I am sure ona handlers na gon like it) by raising the minimum wage in the hospitality Industry on a graduated basis, we must have our people in the ndustry, too ong we have heard the cry, oh I am from Turkey, or timbuktu, armenia or tongo. I leave the percentage increaes to your very knowledgeable and learned Finance Minister.  Start a roll back of the duty on fuel, not all at one time, again go figure.  Put a small tax on outgoing bank wires of 100,000.00 and up to be paid to government on a quarterly basis; dispose of the operational part of the water authority and keep the regulatory function, excising a substantial initial acquisition ( one ballon payment initially) from the final buyer, with the remaining funds to be paid and guaranteed to be paid on a quarterly basis over the the first two years of take over.A percentage of the funds obtained from the later two measures are to be allocated to a Disaster Recovery Fund and an Educational Fund for scholarships and towards sports and cultural enrichment.  Finally my dear Fellow Government officials and Fellow Caymanians, if ya let this ship flounder any furher under your watch Dog eat ona supper.  And Another Ting.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Maybe this new move will push the Caymanian workforce to stop with the sense of entitlement and actually work for a living rather than sitting back and telling everyone that will listen that they deserve the job that an expat is doing regardless of education or experience.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are people incayman the adult sons and daughters  of status holders who were minors when the came to cayman without PR or status. These people came pre Ivan and some in the late 90s. They are given only 40 points under these laws. Essentially keeping families broken up.  Can the government do something fair for these people who are already integrated members of society? Or will we cast these people off. These are the friends and family members of Caymanians.

    • Anonymous says:

      Possibly, but it would also be nice to see the unqualified and unexperienced expats no longer being hired over Caymanians just because they are buddies with the boss.  Not saying that there aren't alot of qualified and experienced expats here, just that there a lot of companies, especially the larger ones, who bend the rules to work for them and their friends.  My 2 cents.

    • Anonymous says:

       

      Hold on just a minute now.  Entitlement?  Have you ever heard of a Caymanian going to the States or anywhere else for that fact and assuming that just because they are qualified and experienced they should be automatically allowed to work there? just because they possess those credentials?  No. Because it doesn’t happen (and it’s not due to a lack of qualified Caymanians. In fact most are educated in other countries).  Why doesn’t it happen?  Because other countries have immigration laws which uphold boundaries to protect their people.  Why is Cayman expected to behave differently?  Yet every day Caymanians are faced with foreign nationals who feel that they deserve to work here, simply because.  No necessary rhyme or reason, just because.  That, my friend, is “entitlement” at its greatest.  Now make no mistake, most Caymanians are grateful for the wonderful new tried and tested methods for each field or industry that are brought in from overseas, and we certainly have always gotten along quite well with foreign nationals.  But when it comes to entitled statements like these, that’s when we have to say: Please do remember which soil you’re standing upon and which passport you hold.   

  5. Anonymous says:

    zzzzzz….who cares anymore….the damage has already been done…. the way cayman treats its most valuable people (expats) is unbeleivable……without them cayman is doomed….

    • Anonymous says:

      08.03 I am an expat and your comment is hateful. There are many good hard working Caymanians, in our office some have risen to the highest levels and long may it continue. Having said that there is the small brigade that arrive, lets have breakfast, lets talk, oh now its lunchtime, and oh, second lunchtime, then tea and home element which is giving others a bad name. One even had the front to wonder loudly recently why they were not progressing and it took one of out top Caymanians to tell her..work properly, hardand long and the world will be yours. Just turn up and pretend and you will go nowhere. It just shows if you are prepared to go for it, the sky is the limit. Think you are entitled to the MD's job without having the experience or knowledge and you are dead.

    • Anonymous says:

      I guess from your post All the Caymanians should leave then. Whai is your home country? does it have an open arms policy? and is there an abundance of jobs for Expats to your country? if you answer no to either of the last 2 questions then be thankfull to the place that has taken you in.

       

    • And another Ting says:

      "Its most valuable", sorry sah, but ya really strike a wrong note.  All a we are equal in Gods sight, you and any other foreign immigrant aint no more valuable than me or anybody else in this country.  Oviously you dont want to stay here and this is how you express your sentiments.  Listen yow, ya dont need to stress, pick up ya bundle and leave and go.  Ya look better goin than coming.  And Another Ting.

      • Anonymous says:

        im sorry while there are many great people on the island, local, and expat, we are NOT all equal.

        the robber, murderers, and thugs, are not equal to the hard working, giving people of this country, local or expat.

        beaucuse you're from here does not make you a good person

    • Anonymous says:

      Thereare alot of great expats in Cayman, alot of people really love this country and really put in their part to make it a better place.  Unfortunately there a lot of expats such as yourself who only create tension between locals and expats and really add nothing of value to the country. By saying that expats are Cayman's most valuable people you are obviously trying to say that Caymanians are worthless which means you really have no place in this community.  

      • Anonymous says:

        never said caymanians were worthless……

        but why were expats given a work permit?????????

        it is because there was no caymanian able to do that job!!!!!!!!……

        and you want to throw these people out???????………………………… wonderland stuff!

        • Anonymous says:

          The only wonderland stuff is that you believe what the law says, that you get a permit only when no Caymanian is available. That is not true. It should be. What we are all seeing now is an inevitable backlash after a decade of excess and near absolute lack of regulation.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you come to another's country and openly declare that you and your people are more "valuable" than the people whose home it is, you have gone way over the line.

    • Anonymous says:

      As an educated, hardworking professional, I find your comment divisive and disrespectful. I hope that you are  one of the valuable expats going home to make a contribution in YOUR country.

      Hope your value has not depreciated by  association with the lowly Caymanians that are now sick and tired of the drift nuts that claim to be nuggets of gold. 

      Thank you for whatever contribution you have made, trust that the salary, benefits and quality of life you enjoyed made it worthwhile. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have supported the PPM from the time they were first formed , but Alden has disappointed me seriously with this last decision.  Born Caymanians are fast becoming extinct, with the coming paper Caymanians now becoming the majority.  We have the fillipinos fast becoming the majority in our islands.  Everywhere you go in Grand Cayman, the majority of the people are from wayyyyy out in the Pacific Ocean.  These people lower the standard of living that Caymanians have worked so hard for so long to establish.  There are no Caymanians or Jamaicans who live in houses, so crowded that they have to sleep in relays.  There are a few substandard houses almost right in the center of George Town, where the Fillipinos sleep in shifts.  The ones who work days, sleep in the same beds that the ones who get out of in the evenings to go to work at nights.  These people live with an average of 8 persons minimum to aa two bedroom house, yet everywhere you these people are working in our country doing work that Caymanians would be happy to get.  We had a high standard of living in the Cayman Islands, but we are fast becoming a welfare country, where the rich have and the poor have to stay down, because our leaders prefer to encourage the fillipinos and other nations like that, to come to our shores and gt the jobs for much lower pay than Caymanians can live on. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Instead of insulting you i will go to some comments about your post and hopefully help you in life

      You vote only one way and dont think about things for yourself

      you say caymans are a dying breed its true to some extent but how much can you inbreed

      you say your standard of living ..remember not long ago when men landed on the moon you were just getting electricity

      you say they sleep in shifts and work for low wages. Maybe so but you are the landlord overcharging for that shack

      and you are the employers paying lousey wages so you can maintain your high standard

      you say there are no jamaicans or caymanians sleeping in overcrowded conditions well i know for a fact that many familys caymanian and  jamaican of 5 or more live in a two bedroom house  

      That work caymanians would be happy to have I assume you are speaking of garbage men and dishwashers Well Caymanians  are not applying for those 4 dollar an hour jobs otherwise i would hire them no problem

      Furthermore most of your people lack the training it takes to take care of money. so those jobs you are not qualified for and will never be qualified  . It takes many generations of brainpower to make money out of money.

      Cayman is a socialist country dont call it welfare state. The US is a welfare state with a capitalist backbone Your country lacks that backbone    

      And it is true that your rich caymanians want to keep your people down Its allways been that way and its that way all over the world to some extent and allways has been

      Lastly why are you such a hater  you dont like any other people that are not caymanian or jamaican

      Did you know there are people with dark skin from other countrys?  

      Lastly there are not that many philipinos in cayman Your eye has been trained to see them racism is taught at home

      just like you see all whites as tourists

       

       

      • Anonymous says:

        When man landed on the moon,Cayman was just getting electricity?  True and so what's your point?

        When North America was undiscovered land, English kings and queens dancedin silk and drank fine wine while their ships conquered the world, and China had discovered paper 1000 years prior.  Before all of that, Eqyptians shipped cocaine from South America and built great structures!

        How far back would you like to go with these history lessons and comparisons?

        You think because Cayman is a new country that Caymanians are peasants……and I guess you would like to kill all Caymanians like the "Americans" did with the American Indians and the British did in Aftrica and India and the Dutch did in South Africa?  

        Your words here are proof of how you really feel about Caymanians.  

         

        • Anonymous says:

          Your comments are sick I love Caymanians and my youngest child is caymanian just as my great grandfather was but his father was scottish That said my comment was at an eariler post

          So learn to read it wasnt directed at you and if it was stop taking one line and twisting it up.

          My comment was to point out that the writer is a Bigot and narrow minded,

          And I realise the US is not the most advanced country in the world. Some could argue that socialist are more advanced  because they get free medical

          The second point of my comment was the fact that outsiders must be let into the tribe to allow sharing of information and skills and some of those skills do not exist here in Cayman

    • Anonymous says:

      07.44, it is called competition, the world in general has a lot of it..you have to compete to survive and some levels of Cayman society have failed at that task, so far. Just wishing you all have jobs will not make it work. The worlds businesses will not pay the prices you want or feel you are worth, they will look everywhere and see where it is most effective to do that work. Get used to it buddy, us expats have been dealing with it all our lives.

    • Anonymous says:

      wasnt this overdrowding condition something that was supposed to be addressed with the requirement to fill out a accomodation declaration with a work permit application? is this now just and excercise in paper filing….

    • Anonymous says:

      Every person on this island is an immigrant, even those born here. There are no indigenous Caymanians. It might be interesting to keep this in mind when talking about born Caymanians vs paper Caymanians. In theory, every Caymanian is a paper Caymanian by definition. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Okay… So do you. It consider yourself a nationality? From a country that you feel is yours like no other? And did your family at some point migrate there? Your point is pointless. 

        Go further with your theory.. So it has a widely held view scientifically that the human race started in Africa…So are you African? 

    • Anonymous says:

      completely agree! when Gov't decided to get rid of Jamaicans, all those hard wording ones that had been here for years, Cayman changed. A Jamaican does not share a bed, no matter how much they are/were making, they have their own room. Jamaican's also spend/spent their money in Cayman. This one move made a huge impact on our economy. Further, some of the Jamaican's that got imported after….not quite the same.

      • Anonymous says:

        So you are trying to say that Jamaicans are better than other foreign workers. May I ask who are those charged with violent crimes in Cayman? Yes, Jamaicans. So quit hyping up your race and don't generalize. You are only showing your stupidity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you serious?  The landlord of those places where you assume everyone is sleeping are all Caymanian allowing it to happen so their pockets are full. 

      "doing work that Caymanians would be happy to get" – give me a break!

       Would you like to be my nanny/helper?  Work 6 days a week, 9 hours a day taking care of my kids, dogs and house? Never complain, be polite, kind , reliable and do a great job?  Ha ha – doubt it.  That is why they are here – not because they're taking your jobs but because you are giving them away!! 

       

  7. Anonymous says:

    Alden you say you are willing to listen to submissions on thid bill but neither you nor CNS saw fit to tell me where to send it, so I am posting mine here. Surely you are not going ahead with this idea of removing the 7 year term limit at this time, at least not wholesale for everyone, even if selectively in order to fill the need to put the willing unemployed back to work. We did this foolishness 10 years when we only used to give PR and status to lawyers, bankers and accountants. What we did was to have a huge drive to have Caymanians go to university to study accounting and law, while they were gone we made the people in those positions Caymanians through status because they had been on the Island for many years. We now have qualified lawyers and accountants that have no hope of moving up the ladder, if they are able to get a job in their profession at all. Fast forward 10 years and today we are spending millions setting up trade schools to train and qualify Caymanians for positions such as mechanics, plumbers, electritions, carpenters etc. While these people,who definately want work, or they would not be furthering their studies, are improving their qualifications, you are proposing that we make the people who were brought here 7 years ago, because we had no trained Caymanians, get PR and status. Where will the newly qualified Caymanians find a job if we have satisfied all of our needs for these positions by making the people we brought in Caymanians. Unfortunately as Premier, you will have to face the music on this one, because, unlike 10 years ago when it took 4 years or longer to become a doctor, lawyer or accountant; this time those qualifying are being encouraged to do 2 year technical courses of study and will all be on your doorstep in 2 years, demanding a job or a spot on wellfare. 

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a rather baffling comment that doesn’t go far enough to explain what your point is. I will try to guess your concerns.

      So, your claim that Alden is giving away pr and status is inaccurate. PR will be like a bank loan. Not because you want or apply for a bank loan means you are going to get it. Now if you have an issue with the points system, please explain so that maybe we can help alleviate your concerns.

      Now many people say we should shorten the number of years for pr not lengthening. But as one of the caymanians trying to qualify themselves as you mentioned, I can say a ten year roll over policy is more favorable than five or seven years. To explain, if I am trying to get a four year degree and a couple years experience in order to rightfully take a job from a work permit holder it is better that I have ten years to do it instead of five. If the expat with who I am competing can apply for pr in five years, they shut me out of the job prospects before I can get qualified.

      Please attend the immigration meeting in any of the last two districts. I attended and though I have a few more questions arising, many of my questions were answered. Also, eric.bush@gov.ky has given out his email address to collate comments on ever occasion that he has spoken.

    • a test is a test says:

      I AGREE!  When will we realize that pandering to the white collar PR we are actually constructing a glass ceiling?

      There is nothing wrong with the current law except ENFORCEMENT.  We allow the white collar cronies to crouch in their corners and do backroom deals, we ALLOW HR Departments to recruit from outside without a shred of repercussion, we allow work permits to be renewed for 7 STRAIGHT YEARS even if a qualified Caymanian applies?  (Ask any HR Manager, once an expat is in and well  liked, their job is PROTECTED!)

      There is nothing WRONG with the law, it is the lack of balls and enforcement that is keeping our own children (that go overseas, get university degrees) from a glass ceiling.  I bet if professional permits, IT, Accounting, Law, Telecoms, Law start getting DENIED on a regular basis then the large firms (and smaller will follow) will start to recruit from the local pool.

      for far too long have we allowed (Thanks crony politiicans) work permits to usurp any local application.

      JUST ENFORCE THE CURRENT LAW AND OUR PROBLEMS WILL BE SOLVED.Two places need to be monitored : 1.) Every and ALL applications made for a permit must be submitted in WHOLE- not simply a report stating why the local was not suitable and 2.) Enforcement must wake up and shake the work permits loose when a qualified Caymanian has been found and I am sorry if it is YEAR 5 or 6- a permit renewal is not a lifetime career contract!!!.  Unitl we get back to the desirable Caymanians being employed intstead of turned away, we will only see the problem get worse.

      Are you listening c4c?  it was YOUR election platform promise to stop the crony work permit approvals and sorry Roy, your namesake company is one of the worse offenders!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Change AGAIN?  Why not just leave it like how Bushie had it?  Everybody was already prepared to go home on Oct. 28th. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Basically because that's the way Bushie as you call him had it. Alden doesn't want anything Bush put in place to continue. It hurts his image..

  9. Anonymous says:

    494 in a quarter, and only 11% refused!

    That means  about 450 grants a quarter, or 1,800 a year. Since at least 3 people immediately gain PR upon grant to a family member they are granting PR at a rate of about 8,000 a year – which will directly translate into 8,000 new Caymanians a year once they stay long enough. This is an outrage. This should be something prescious and reserved only for the very most deserving. They are giving it to everyone! No wonder Caymanians are unemployed and social services and the schools are running low on funds!

    • Anonymous says:

      18:01 this is so true within one year we could end up with close to 8,000 people being granted PR why not let the current 7 years stay in place?  The process will regulate it self that way.  If some people have to leave here after 7 years let then, after all they came from somewhere else so at the end of their time they can return from whence they came of go somewhere else.  There will always be somone else willing and able to replace them.

       BVI take note and DON'T make the same mistake!

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is a joke. Grow a pair and do whatever it is you are going to do. Promising everything to everyone is not working. Think of the people hanging there in limbo too waiting to see what is decided. You cannot mess with people lives like this.