Bermuda faces pressure over its work permit limits

| 29/01/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, Cayman work permits(CNS): Politicians in Bermuda are attempting to clarify statements attributed to several business people in the local press regarding talks with Bermudian government officials over work permit term limits. Home Affairs Minister David Burch has said there is no plan to change the policy and there have been no discussions. The speculation regarding possible changes was also fuelled by the announcement here in the Cayman Island that Premier MacKeeva Bush will be changing Cayman’s rollover policy and introducelegislation that will make it easier for foreign professionals to settle in the country.

The story, which was reported in Bermuda’s Royal Gazette, reported that talk between business representatives and government regarding work permits were ongoing and described proposed changes to work permits in the Cayman Islands.

However, rumours of change were denied by Minister Burch in the statement. "Both the Minister and the Permanent Secretary have spent a considerable amount of time and effort meeting with business leaders both individually and collectively and it is not helpful for them to give one impression in those meetings then reverse themselves in the media to try and exert pressure on the Ministry,” he said. "The Ministry has also been very cognisant of the current environment that businesses are operating in and sensitive to the needs of those businesses that have invested in our economy and continue to provide jobs for Bermudians.”

The minister observed that Bermuda does not have the "same challenges" as the Cayman Islands, where policy is legislated.

Bermuda’s opposition party has called for government to scrap term limits, and businesses in the islands have similar feelings to businesses in Cayman that term limits and rollover policies can undermine their ability to attract talent.

Bermuda Democratic Alliance MP Shawn Crockwell has demanded the abolition of the six-year term limit for expatriate workers, claiming that it can scare off companies from doing business in Bermuda.  

"We are certainly encouraged by the fact that there has been dialogue between the business community and Government, however this isn’t the first time we have heard of this discussion, and unfortunately in the past the result has not been the abolition of the six-year term limit," he said. “It is disconcerting when you see our competitors such as Cayman coming out and saying they need to take a look at the issue. But from our perspective, there has been a lot of concern and discussion about it but nothing is taking place."

In Cayman last week Bush confirmed that the UDP administration would be addressing the current seven-year rollover policy to reduce the length of the off-island gap between work terms and possibly extend the period before rollover kicks in, as well as offering key status to a number of positions associated with the financial services, enabling professionals to by-pass the immigration restrictions and seek more security of tenure.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Business

About the Author ()

Comments (26)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    "Premier MacKeeva Bush will be changing Cayman’s rollover policy and introduce legislation that will make it easier for foreign professionals to settle in the country."

    WOW!!!! What VIP services for foreigners, while us CAYMANIANS are suffering in our own country!!

    Why dont he make it easier for us???????????????

    • frank rizzo says:

      He can’t, and you would screw it up anyway.

      • Anonymous says:

        Assuming you’re a FOREIGNER, you and your compadres screwed these Islands up. Just had to come here and take what we had!!!

        Now that damaged has been done, find another country to go screw up!!!


        • frank rizzo says:

          I like this one fine, thank you.

          • swaby says:

            Then i suggest you RESPECT us Caymanians and our country!!

            Remember we have nowhere to run, unlike you!!!

  2. CaymanLover says:

    I’m confused, I come on here every day and no matter what the subject matter of the story is, no less than 75% of posters start by saying we need to get rid of McKeeva Bush.  Everyone on here seems to feel he is a pompous dictator who is exploiting our country to line his own pockets.

    So, if most of us feel that way who the heck voted him in? 

    Also, regarding term limits, bear in mnd the loophole: expat employees must leave the islands after 7 years = they don’t have to cease their employment!  You can have your foregin employee working from their own home so when people start whinging about the rollover policy I don’t even flinch.  Makes no difference and does nothing to help locals.

    I’m a young educated Caymanian, newly employed and the most frustrating thing is that where I work I get nothing but put downs from my fellow locals and nothing but encouragement from my expat counterparts.  It breaks my heart.  I know that isnt the case everywhere and I have been exposed to both side of the coin.  All I can say is that you don’t have to hate foreigners just to love Caymanians. 

    Remember its our own home grown leaders who allow things to be where they are.  We have been sold out to a great extent and we just sit there and take it.  I wish I had the gumption to go into politics because Ive always been broke so money isnt my motivation!  I see so many troubles that could easilt be fixed but my fear isthere is no place in our government for an honest policitian?!?!

    • Joe Average says:

      9:17:  You don’t necessarily need gumption to go into politics.  You just need a lot of spare time!   Oh….and some sort of vague policy which you don’t have to state with any acccuracy. Just make a hint that you’ve got a big plan to turn things around. That always works because it is always everyone’s opinion that things are going in the wrong direction. See?  But the best approach is to blast the previous government because by that time everyone hates them and they’ve forgotten….YOU were the government previous to them and everyone hated you.  But…even if you lose you can pretend to be the opposition.  And it pays very well.  Then…you wait.  By that time….everyone is ready for a "change".  And they vote for you! Because they’ve forgotten you buggered things up last time. Then you make really good money.  And while you’re in office you can hand out favors which will help you because they won’t vote for you next time.  But that’s ok you can wait for the next election.

      Sounds kind of pointless doesn’t it.  That’s why you need a lot of spare time.

      And that’s how politics works.  Hope this helped.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Anon 11:24 there is no need for a poll to see how many work permit holders people want to relocate to Cayman permenantly.

    All you need is to become aware of the thousands of applications that are submitted to the immigration department annually for permanent residency and status.  

    • Really? says:

      They are only applying for work permit rights, to open businesses and to avoid tax.  The first two are simply overcoming discriminatory hurdles.  Most applicants see status a freeing them up to live more time back in the real world.

  4. Ex-pat Bhoy says:

    I like the roll-over because it set a clear end point for my time here so I can look forward to life back home.  It set me up for a 6 year stay and a target of $500,000 savings (mostly there already).  It meant I did not have to worry about buying a house or spending more money than necessary here.  It also meant that I did not have to care about what happens in Cayman’s long term, or now medium term.  Will a Caymanian take my place?  Almost certainly not.

    And yes, I am aware of the many flights back to civilisation.  I am looking forward to using my airmiles on a nice upgrade on that one-way ticket.

    I do feel a little sorry for the people who have tried to become part of the community, buy a home, raise a family and make a life here and then being sent away.  But not that sorry when I look at my bank balance.

    • BORN FREE says:

      "I am aware of the many flights back to civilisation"!
      If that is how you feel Ex-pat Girl, why don’t you go now? Cayman is the best of civilisation, that’s why you are here girl.

      "I do feel sorry for the people who ……… etc etc, buy a home……etc etc"!
      Do you think that Cayman is the only place that people go to & live & buy a home & raise a family & cannot stay forever? Get real woman! Cayman is a very small island, do you think that it is right for 10 million or more people to be allowed to come here, work, buy a home, raise a family & NOTbe sent away eventually? Get real girl! Every person in the world wants to come to the best place on earth, Cayman, that is understandable! But how can anyone expect us to open our borders to the world? Is your countrys borders open to any & everyone? Get real woman! I support the rollover policy, just as you do for your country! It is people like you that we do not like here, only here to fatten your bank account. Please take your bank balance & go, NOW! PLEASE DO NOT WAIT, thanks my Ex-pat girl!

      • Ex-pat Bhoy says:

        Calling me "Ex-pat Girl" that really was a shining example of your mastery of rhetoric.  Cut me like a knife that did.

        Did you really have to play the "catch the next flight home" gambit that quickly?  I’ll leave when my bank account balance hits the magic number thank you. 

        The irony is that I would qualify for key employee status and my departure will cause my employer problems, but roll over tends to encourage the short term mercenary atittude in all of us.

        "Cayman is the best of civilisation", that was a cracker.

      • Anonymous says:

        Every person in the world wants to come to the best place on earth, Cayman, that is understandable

        Is that why tourism is down, I would expect if everyone in the world wanted to come here the figures would be higher, LOL

        As the origianal comment was from a Bhoy, not a girl, if you’re having trouble differentiating between them you are going to end up on the wrong side of the CMA.


      • Truth B Told says:

        The CNS cliche of the week award goes to BORN FREE with the masterful "Please take your bank balance & go, NOW! PLEASE DO NOT WAIT, thanks my Ex-pat girl!" 

        A wonderful use of the "get the next flight home" approach even in response to someone who had already pointed out that someone would probably say that. 

      • frank rizzo says:

        What gives you the right to send anyone on God’s earth away? There are many, many more who were born just as free as you. Don’t worry about the 10 million clamoring to get to Cayman, God will deal with the population limit as He always has. Take care that you are not the one who has to go.

    • Anonymous says:

      $500,000 in savings in 6 years. What have you been selling?

      No wonder so many of our kids are messed up on dope.

    • Joe Average says:

      Take your money and run but don’t thumb your nose at everyone in the process.  Your ignorance is showing, and it may very well match your "bank balance."  Know what??

      No one will notice you when you’re gone.

      Hasta la’Visa!!!!

      • Ex-pat Bhoy says:

        You miss the point, Mr. Average.  The roll-over system is promoting large numbers of people with my attitude.  It is breeding more mercenaries and discouraging people to have ties to the people and the community.  The people who have been good committed loyal workers for 7 years are being asked to leave.  It is increasingly the "them and us" attitude and is also slowly reducing the value of Cayman PLC.

        I am far from ignorant. 

        • Joe Average says:

          You could have said that at the beginning.  Instead, you had to go on about your big fat savings account and how you didn’t give a s**t.  That is of no real concern to anyone and also non-productive as it seems your "loyalty" was to yourself.  What you also succeeded in doing -wittingly – or unwittingly (but somehow I doubt it) was speaking like another stereotypical uncaring ungrateful expat.  The same attitude which many of us try to dispel.  Leaving the rest of the expats to clean up your mess. Some of whom actually like it here.

          How much more do you need to be able to leave?

          • Ex-pat Bhoy says:

            For the record, I don’t care about what happens here once I leave and am not sure what I am meant to be grateful for – I work hard for my money.  I did not come with the mercenary attitude but formed it fairly quickly after moving here, after hearing all the them’an’us BS and looking more at the harm roll-over was and is doing.  But many now do come with that attitude in the first place and it is roll-over the produces more mercenaries (like me, I freely admit).

            As far as how much more I "need", it is not so much "need" but "want".  I’ll go when I want and take my little bundle of cash then. 

            I am glad you like it here. 


  5. Anonymous says:

    The Roll Over policy

    Lets start by rolling over the idiot we have as a  Premier and place an intelligent Caymanian businessman back in the house who knows what he is doing. Time for the childish school yard bully that we have as a dictator – McChavez. goes back to school where he belongs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    CNS, the Cayman Islands Immigration Law refers to "term limits" not "roll over". The latter term is slang.

  7. Watering Hole says:

    Some of it make sense.   But the Premier needs to know there are too many people here from 3rd world countries not working, and needs to go home.

    • Born Free says:

      We need to get rid of Mckeeva Bush & his radical ideas (which are aimed at increasing his power) & be more like Bermuda.

      Bermuda is not for sale, to no one, not even the filthy rich who are willing to pay off local politicians! Cayman needs to be more like them, but alas, it will be too little too late, I fear!

  8. tired says:

    Has anyone ever conducted a poll/survey to find out what percentage of work permit holders want to relocate permanently here?

    And furthermore I would like to see data on staff turnover rates in financial industry in New York/London.

    Or even what is the expatriate staff turnover rate within Cayman island governments as the rollover was never implemented.

    Big business should not have a greater say than the voting public. Have a referendum do voters want rollover or not. simple.