Immigration offences during pending decisions rise

| 02/08/2011

(CNS): The immigration department is issuing warnings to employers and employees that foreign nationals who are waiting on the outcome of immigration decision or appeal require a special “working by operation of law” or WOL stamp in order to carry on working in the Cayman Islands until they receive an answer. Immigration’s Enforcement Unit reports that there is a rising number of offences in this area and increased detection of WOL offenders. In addition to hefty fees, employees and employers may be prosecuted for the offence respectively facing charges of overstaying and of causing a person to illegally remain in the jurisdiction. However, gaining the right stamp and paying the right fee will ensure that both parties avoid prosecution the department has said.

Certain specific requirements under the law need to be met in order to get a WOL stamp in a passport as no one can work legally without having authorized permission and having paid the relevant fee. People appealing work permit refusals, permanent residency refusals, those with pending PR applications, and anyone awaiting decisions on key employee applications, may be eligible to this stamp and the immigration department has created a new form for the application.

Officials said this had been introduced in order to streamline the process and help employers to provide immigration with the necessary information to make a determination on the eligibility of their employees. Failure to comply with having a valid WOL stamp or pay the requisite fees on each expiration can have serious implications. Fines can amount to more than two or three times the person’s work permit fee as well as the additional payments to update the relevant documents.

“In many cases the enforcement measures are avoidable, and the negligence is not intentional,” said Assistant Chief Immigration Officer, Enforcement Jeremy Scott. “However, being unaware of one’s employment status can be costly.”

As both employees and employers may be liable for different reasons Scott advised companies and human resource staff to keep employee files current to ensure they are within the law.

Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans explained that WOL passport stamps have been used for some years. However, because multiple agencies are sometimes involved, the new formal stamping process and application form will standardise the process.

“In cases of persons appealing permit refusals, the stamp confirms that they are allowed to reside and work in the Islands, but only for six-month intervals, and until they hear the outcome of their appeal,”  Evans said.

The Chief Immigration Officer further stated that if they receive a decision on their appeal, the stamp is voided immediately. The maximum length of time authorized on a WOL for a work permit appeal is the period of the person’s term limit.

The WOL stamp also covers anyone awaiting PR, and in those cases it is valid for up to a year. However, it must be renewed thereafter if an application remains pending. The new requirements for being granted a WOL extension stipulate that an applicant must produce various documents relating to their circumstances as shown below:

A cover letter stating the occupation in which they are being employed
A $100 processing fee
A medical lab report
Proof of a pension plan
Proof of health insurance
A completed application form
A copy of the employer’s business licence
A copy of the applicant’s appeal fee receipt (where relevant)
The application fee (The same amount as the person’s work permit fee; or, half of the work permit fee, where the WOL is only for six months).
For more information, applicants and businesses may seek legal counsel or contact the Department of Immigration on 949-8344 or visit

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There appear to be a lot more adult expats than adult caymanians in the population, even after the 25% who left in the last two years. 7 years is a long time–think about what you were doing 7 years ago. Put these two facts together and reflect on how you can expect to have total control over the expats. Not going to happen

  2. Anonymous says:

    Immigration needs to streamline the appeal and application process. The appeals can take up to 5 years to be concluded – for that 5 years the person is still working living ripping people of, whatever with impunity.

    The delays in the decision making process allows people to linger in limbo for too long.

    • Anonymous says:

      To Anon13:33

      We will never have a sensible Immigration department  as long as the Government keeps manipulating  them, into easing restictions on work permi holders, and prolonging appeals.


      The Government is behind letting in another 30,000 expats to take jobs, and sell trade & business license to.

      We are the only country in the world that destroys  it's people's  oppotunities , by selling out for revenue making.

      What is needed, for government to stop depending on revenue from work permits, and look other way to generate revenue. I could think of a few, but will they listen? 

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Immigration Department should do a sting in offering employment and see just how many foreign nationals with work permits and not jobs will apply and this is across the board.

    These islands have gone to hell in a hand basket.  Are there not enough Caymanians without jobs?

  4. Anonymous says:

    This foolishness need to stop, the mal function of immigrationis the problem with the Cayman Islands.  Bring back the Caymanian Protection Board this was the time when Cayman was at this best.   


  5. You could not make it up says:

    The Cayman Immigration system.  Jonathan Swift would have been proud.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I support you fully in your efforts but please do not tease us with pretending proof of compliance with health insurance and pensions laws are required to get immigration permissions. The abuses of these are so widespread and entrenched, how can we really believe you?

    • Anonymous says:

      ANON 22;52

      I guess you believe pigs can fly also. It is not today that the businesses and residence, been asking and suggesting to the Immigratuion Department to clean up the Illigals on the Island.

      I can remember 15 years ago feeding them with Imformation on Illigal activtives, but very little were done.

      What we have to realise, is those same Immigration officers are competeing in business with the private sector, and some of those same illegals, maybe, are  their own workers, so why would they arrest them…people speak here of corruption…this is where it is most.

      Now youspeak of businesses not complying with the hardship the Government has placed on it's small and medium businesses, namely the pension and health insurance.

      Do you realise that  at least 30 % of the small and medium businesses are not even registered with  pension or health insurance…they just cant afford it…they were never consulted by these greedy companies or the government, to find out if they would be able to comply with such a high TAX deduction from their business.

      On the other hand, Government is their biggest competiter, selling trade & Busines license for expats to carry on, and compete with Caymanian businesses. Issuing PR and Status which give them the rights to purchase a Trade & Business license. While the Government is collecting  the cash, the Caymanian businesses are closing down.

      And you know what? not one  these small business association have the balls to speak up. I doubt they even realise, why their business  now have to shut down, after opperating for so many years.

      Unless these small businesses make a move immidiatly, and start themselves a Union, they are all going to lose their business to expat /PR/Status holders. No Government is going to protect you. they will be going against their own  will, to compete with all the businesses.

      Wake up Caymanian businesses…get yourselves some cojhonis, and stop shu, shuing behind doors.  


  7. Michel says:

    This I am for 100%. Many has I have said before are here illegally and even work before the new permit is issued. A lot of job hopping going on. Yes , please enforce the law and keep track of where they are suppose to be living, if they move you should know. They move and get lost in the crowd OR PLAY on the appeal for residency to gret more time and change jobs and very often if you check they would be termed illegal and I hope they will be deported. INTELLIGENCE and GOOD INFORMATION. And hold the original work permit applicant for those individuals and make them pay for the repatriation feel.From the heart, Michel Lemay

    P.S. we might even see a little reduction in crime, not to admonish our own also involved in crime.