Immigration keeps up pressure on permit offenders

| 16/10/2009

(CNS): The immigration department said it has arrested a number of employers and employees this month regarding various immigration offences. From one employer who was making an employee pay permit fees to a female foreign national who remains in custody as a result of overstaying in Cayman illegally for the last year, Senior Immigration Officer Jeremy Scott has said people who break any work permit law will be arrested. Scott who is responsible for enforcement operations within the Enforcement and Intelligence Division said labour offences and associated arrests are the focus for this month.

Scott said employers had also been arrested for failing to cancel people’s permits– one where the worker had not been in his employ for the past 20 months. He said irregularities were caused by the slowdown in the labour market and complicated by freelancing permit holders.

 “We regularly receive calls about people who go to job sites seeking work. But this can be avoided, for if a business doesn’t have work, it should cancel a permit, or apply for an amendment which would allow the person to legally work elsewhere,” Scott explained. 

Illegally sharing guest workers is also an offence, and employees have been arrested on charges of working outside the terms of a permit. In one case, both a restaurant owner and an employee now face charges involving illegal employment over a three-month period and a supervisor was also arrested for providing misleading information.

A construction worker was also found working without immigration authorization on a jobsite and was arrested along with the site supervisor on suspicion of illegal employment.  

Immigration investigations are taking place in all sectors of employment, and officials warn that employers in breach of the law can be charged and fined. To avoid such incidents, employers may also terminate permits by sending cancellation letters to the department. Workers may also voluntarily cancel their own permits.

“We appreciate and look forward to the continued support of the public in detecting these cases. We are also using our computer database, which includes photos,” said Deputy Chief Immigration Officer (Enforcement, Intelligence and Asylum) Gary Wong. He urged employers to remember their legal obligation (under Immigration Regulations 2009 Section 9) to cancel permits when work is no longer available. Employers who fail to do so may be prosecuted and face a maximum fine of $5,000.

Employers are also responsible for communicating the status of work permits and applications to their employees.

Another issue of concern is employers who submit renewals for work permits after they have expired. These cases violate Section 56(1), and first-time offenders are liable to a fine of $5,000 and to imprisonment of one year.

Business owners are therefore reminded to submit renewals early, as renewal applications must be submitted before expiration.  Section 56 (3) of the law allows continued employment of a staff member while the new permit application is considered, but only if this was submitted within the correct timeframe.

Employers, employees or members of the public may call 949 8344 or visit the offices of the Department of Immigration for more information, or to report suspicious activity. In addition, the Enforcement Division may be contacted directly at 244 2028 or 244 2051.

All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

About the Author ()

Comments (10)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Jeremy has, over the years, proven himself to be a man of integrity, strong character, humility, and, a good dose of humour. We need more like him.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Immigration needs to invest in about Finger Printing Machines. Place them at the Airport and at the Dock and start finger printing everyone entering in to this Country.  We are letting in far too many criminals here.  Every other Country fingerprints alians coming into their country, Cayman should do the same. They should also finger print everyone from 13 years of age that is already on Island, including their own people. Fingerprinting should become mandatory in the schools, the churches, the workplaces, the homes.  That way a dataBank will be compiled throughout the Islands, just like the medical Insurance is required for everything, so too should the fingerprinting be required.  A lot of the criminal would be found and a lot of problems would be solved.

  3. Really Really fed up... says:

    I am to the point of thinking that it makes no sence to report anyone to enforcement, i myself became aware of two different women working here in the Cayman Islands illegally and reported them to Immigration over two years ago, since then those two women have even been promoted in their jobs. one is married to a Caymanian but for four years has not lived with him, What kind of marriage is that? The other has a Jamaican man that is married to a Caymanian,  He the Jamaican paid a friend of his from West Bay to marry this girl and keep her here. (In this time she has gotten a baby and that baby is now registered to the wrong father) Immigration start looking into the old files for these letters! Of the subject but i feel the need to write it in, is how can two people who have no jobs and Government is paying their rent and buying them grocceries can get a loan to buy land???? I and my Husband hold full time jobs and cannot even make enough to get qualified for a loan for a little piece of land…. Corruption is all over this! That is my two cents for the day!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Immigration, while you are cleaning house, please look at all those married people with different sir names, spouses etc that are here on the pretense of being a dependant, but after 6months you see them employed at the same institutions as their counterparts. Please start looking at that piggyback system that is running rampant throughout the financial sector.  These are the same people that are supressing the Caymanian from advancing on the jobs, the friends who are rubbing the friends back system.  There are many talented Caymanians in the financial sector teaching these people everything as requested by the institutions, for these same people to advance over them.  Its a shame immigration, that the Caymanians cannot advance in the big Institution because of the discrimination against us by our overseeas peers. Then when the inspection comes a wool is pulled over your eyes and you guys are not made aware of the TRUE ratio.  They will tell you that they have Caymanian in high places, but inspect who they are.  Yes, the Foreign Caymanians, not the true Caymanians.  These big Institutions sure knows how to rigg the system and yes Immigration you are fooled.

    • Anonymous says:

      From the appalling English in this post, I can only assume that the poster has no real experience of working in the financial services industry and is just posting inflammatory material based on gossip or resentment.

      • Anonymous says:

        …and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of fact.

        Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

  5. Anonymous says:

     To: Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 10/16/2009 – 16:04

    Interesting case. When did this take place, and did you report it to the Highest Level?

     It would also be interesting to hear the ‘other side of the story’.


  6. Anonymous says:


    I think that Jermaine is a very fair man. The only time I ever dealt with him was back in 2001 or so. I was very young and did not understand the law and he helped with an issue that I had. If this was some other immigration officer who like to show-off and act like to think that everyone should  be bowing to them I would have been… anyways Mr. Scott is a good man and if someone have a problem or knows someone that have problem go an talk to him or Mr. Wong, trust me not everyone is bad in that place.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Mr. Scott was informed on the issued that I had as a small Caymanian Business owner and that two Immigration Officiers (Officiers of the Law)  how one of the  Immigration Officier’s who owns a business had a work permit approve for an employee that walked out of my business on a Thursday afternoon at 12:00 pm and by Friday (YES the next day) morning the employee had a permit approved with the Immigration Officiers business and the girl is still working as far I as the law goes isn’t that called JOB HOPPING.

    And isn’t it illegal????????????

    Has the Immigration Officier been repremanded or dismissed and why is it that the employee is still working shouldn’t she have been sent back to her country or dismissed from working????

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Jeremy. You have extremely widespread support. This is not anti-expatriate. This is anti anyone (including Caymanians) who break the law. Only if people see consequences to breaches will they start obeying it again. Thank you for also confirming that investigations are at all levels. It is not all about Jamaicans on job sites – and some of the worst offences are ongoing in ivory towers.  


    Any chance of an anonymous tips line?