Cayman’s rollover suspension rattles Bermuda

| 16/09/2011

(CNS): The proposed suspension of the seven year rollover policy in the Cayman Islands is bad news for Bermuda, the country's former opposition party leader has said. The Royal Gazette reported Friday that Kim Swan of the United Bermuda Party has said that the newsthat Cayman has taken a step Bermuda should have considered “long ago” was not in the islands’ best interests. Premier Paula Cox has defended Bermuda's policy by saying it is more flexible than Cayman's and includes incentives for job makers, as she declared Bermuda open for business.

The announcement by the Cayman Islands premier on Wednesday evening came as a surprise, and although concerns have already been raised about how the immigration department will cope with the subsequent increase in PR applications, the fact that the rollover days are numbered was broadly welcomed by the business community.

Responding to Bush’s revelations about the two year suspension and planned comprehensive review, Richard Coles, the Cayman Finance chair, said that while there are firms in the financial services industry who believe that the policy has increased the cost of recruitment and training, among other issues, the idea of assessing the impact first is the right approach. 

“This will allow the government to objectively assess how the policy would be amended or whether it should indeed be removed,” he said as he welcomed the organisation’s invitation to take part in the review.

The exact details of how the suspension will work have yet to be revealed but it means that employers will be able to apply for work permit renewals for as many as 6,000 people who were facing being rolled over during the next year.

Bermuda currently has a six-year term limit policy, which has been as contentious as rollover has been here and has faced the same criticisms from business representatives.

Swan said people complain about the policy privately, “but not publicly as it would not have been politically correct for the principals of international business to openly challenge a government,” the Gazette reports.

“The PLP government was in denial of this issue and opted for policy that pandered to local politics and less to the industry that sustained the island economically. The end result has been the exodus of key employees and their families, a reality that has had a negative impact on the local economy,” Swan added.

Cox announced plans for work permit exemptions for some non-Bermudian key workers, earlier this year as well as making permanent residency available for them and their families after ten years.

“The benefit of the Bermuda immigration model is that it is dynamic and this highlights the flexibility of our policy,” she said. “It is not enshrined in statute and so more absolute.Our approach differs from Cayman as they embedded their rollover policy in legislation, so it lacks the nimbleness of the Bermuda model.” She said she did not think the move by Cayman would make Bermuda less competitive.

“The way they process work permits and the cost of work permits has always been a problem for them,” she said. Illustrating the significant difference inprice between permits on the two islands, Cox said the fee in Bermuda for a ten-year work permit at $20,000 is less than the fee is for an executive for one year in Cayman.

She also pointed out that the turnaround time here in the Cayman Islands for processing a permit is longer than in Bermuda. “They have only started addressing the fast-tracking of work permits,” Cox said of the local immigration department. “Their fee structure is quite complicated. Businesses also have to pay annual fees. Our plans to provide ten-year permits and incentives are way ahead of them. Even the client base is different, with more hotel workers.”

The current opposition Bermuda Alliance Deputy Leader Michael Dunkley said it would waive term limit requirements for occupations and positions that historically receive 90 percent approval.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Having worked for a short period in Bermuda, I have to say that it is a beautiful place and they do a really good job of protecting their culture, architecture and environment.

    I also have to say – expats have it way better in Cayman. We roll out the red  carpet for them in comparison to Bermuda!

    One thing I loved about Bermuda is – they look out for Bermudians. They restrict foreign workers and foreigh property ownership – yet they still flourish in the financial industry.

    I am sick of the scare tactics by the Govt that if we look out for our own as Caymanians we will lose business and investment. BOLLOCKS! That's what the expats who control our finance industry want us to think.

    Bermudians put Bermudians FIRST. And that's what Caymanians have to start doing.


  2. Anon says:

    Our Bermuda shorts are shorter than Bermuda's – Bermuda Shorts.

    And we dont wear socks with ours. So put that in your pipe and smoke it Bermuda…

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is very misleading to suggest that Cayman's rollover supsension rattles Bermuda.  In the article published by the Royal Gazette it states the following:

    Premier Paula Cox was “not telling the whole story” when she said Bermuda’s immigration policy is more flexible than the Cayman Islands’, according to a business executive.

    Ms Cox made her comments after news on Wednesday that work permit term limits have been suspended in the Cayman Islands, which previously limited them to seven years.

    Asked whether Bermuda would also suspend term limits which have proved unpopular with business owners Ms Cox said our immigration model is more flexible, and the Island is no less competitive than Cayman.

    However, the senior executive who has offices in both jurisdictions, and did not want his name printed said Ms Cox was not giving an accurate picture of the controversial policy, which “should be done away with altogether”.

    He said there is “no process for retaining intellectual capital” in Bermuda, because there is currently no route to permanent residency or citizenship.

    Seems to me like this whole strory was set in motion by an unnamed individual who will stop at nothing to spread half truths to get what he wants.  The individual who is unwilling to have his name printed seem to be the primary advisor to our premier on the rollover policy and is expecting the same results from Premier Cox in Bermuda, only he will not get the same result because Ms. Cox and Bermuda is not Mr. Bush or the Cayman Islands.  You can fool some of the people all the time but you will never fool the Bermudians any time.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps permits cost more here and people happily pay for them because this is a much nicer place to live than Bermuda.  You can keep that!

    • Anonymous says:

      …and also because Bermuda charges them income tax and won’t let them have more than one car. Cayman is a thousand times better.

  5. RasLiberty says:

    The overwhelming fact is that at one stage or another most "native" Caymanians were expats. If you shake a few "native"Caymanians family tree, a whole variety of races and nationalities fall out.

    That being said, if getting status was a big deal to ex-pats, how is it that somany who have been "rolled over" in the past years, had been right here working everyday for 10, 15, 20+ years without even the slightest interest in applying for Caymanian citizenship. Dont let your egos fool you. The only reason that the roll over policy is being suspended is due to the fact that the government has come to the realization that an expat working with the expectation of being booted off the island after 7 years, makes a very poor investor in this island.

    Fosters and Kirks which once had droves of expats flooding their pockets with their weekly grocery money, will attest to this. Cheers Mr Premier, this is a good start.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right absolutely no one is native except for the Native Americans oh by the way they also came from somewhere else before America's official discovery, never the less they are considered Natives and Native Caymanians take the same pride in being native as any other mixed tree of people with DNA to their terra firma.

      As for expats living here for 15 and more year without status wait until next year and they challenge it as a human rights then the fun shall begin.  Tell the world court that these people have no rights and they are not entitled to residency/citizenship.  This is just a ploy for more voters and politicial dominance, but this will soon be the greatest mistake of the Cayman Islands, take away the rollover and we won't be as lucky as SA, because they had the numbers and were willing to make the sacrifice for love of country, we don't.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Stuffing elections ballots with 6,000 brand new voters who LOVE WHAT YOU ARE DOING is POLITRICKING AT ITS BEST to find a solution to the problem of us complainers


    (CNS note: the name you mentioned did not appear when I used the search function for the registered voters list. There were a couple with the same last name)


    So, what is the next thing that a true visionary might do to remain in power to make sure that all HIS agenda items that he is committing to will see it's way to completion, you might wonder? Of those being rolled over who will be eligible and apply for Permanent Residency and Status, what better way but to LEGISLATIVELY CREATE 6,000 NEW VOTERS!


    One thing that you have to give McKeeva credit for is being a true visionary.  With so much public outcry against his policy decisions that are affecting Caymanians, it is guaranteed that news of the people's unified sentiment has gotten back to him, especially those who feel that "Okay, McKeeva, you might not be listening to me now, but you just wait until election time comes, and us voters are going to vote you out!"  Well, I guess he just showed us…BUT ONLY IF WE JUST COMPLAIN AS USUAL AND DO NOTHING!


    The article says that "The exact details of how the suspension will work have yet to be revealed but it means that employers will be able to apply for work permit renewals for as many as 6,000 people who were facing being rolled over during the next year."


    PEOPLE, WHEN WILL YOU SIGN THE REFERENDUM TO REMOVE McKEEVA BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE?  If you refuse to acknowledge what is going on RIGHT NOW, then you'd better start making plans to continue mumbling and grumbling, because IMPORTED VOTERS ARE COMING THAT WILL COMPLETELY DILUTE YOUR SAY IN ANY MATTER!  SIGN THE REFERENDUM NOW!  THE WRITING IS ON THE WALL!  (Or are you going to just do nothing like when the cruise lines told us build the port or we'll stop coming, and we mumbled and grumbled some more, then the cruise lines stopped coming as much and now, we're scratching our heads thinking, Hey, how'd that happen??? 



    • Anonymous says:

      *cough* of those who might become entitled to residency as a result of this decision, none of them, I repeat, none of them, will be able to vote in the next election, or indeed for many years to come.  You have to be a resident for many, many years before you get a right to vote in Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        Probably best you get some good legal advice as to the effect of European law in respect of persons who have lived in Cayman for more than 10 years.

        • Judge Dredd says:

          Go on, tell us of this "European law" of which you speak.  Cite specific parts of this "European law".

        • Anonymous says:

          For those with the patience and ability to qualify and requalify and requalify:
          8 years = PR, 10 years = Naturalisation (Passport), 15+ years (this is a long time) = Caymanian Status and Voting Rights.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would any expat think that they had an obligation to vote for the current Premiere, just because his Goverment finally saw common sense?

      Not that they would get the chance any time soon.

      In the early eighties anyone who was resident for more than five years was allowed to vote and the Jurisdiction blossomed.

      Widening the political base to be more inclusive would benefit everybody as the tribalism that is currently damaging our progress would become more difficult to maintain.

      • Anonymous says:

        Poster 8:13 you are very correct about the eighties and expats who resided for more than five years were allowed to vote and the jurisdiction blossomed. You should however understand that the times and people were different, most of our expat populations at that time came primarily from Europe in the tourism and financial industry and were very educated and have vast knowledge in first world politics now we cannot say the same.  Cayman has opened its doors to the third world and we have now adopted the things of the third world including their politics and crimes.

      • Annoymous says:

        Now you are clearly not informed about what took place here in the 80's.  I was in the elections office for the entire 80's elections and the only persons whom were allowed to vote for Caymanians with birth rights.  So please don't be spreading what is clearly FALSE and missleading as is everything that is printed about Roll Over.  

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t think I’m misinformed, after all I’m recounting my own personal experience.

          In 1984 I had beenresident five years, became a registered voter, and have voted ever since.

    • my my says:

      I received status as part of the big grant "givaway" – and I felt I deserved it. I own property, work hard, volunteer and care about these islands. I keep informed and worry along with everyone else about the problems – and I truly love it here. When it comes time to vote, I find out all I can about the candidates, I listen to their promises and look at their records and their affiliations. The choices are less than ideal to say the least, but I do my best to vote wisely.


      When a country has a wider voting base, it helps to prevent favoritism and cronyism – It's not supposed to be about who you know and how you are connected – or getting your driveway paved, or being handed a piece of free land – it's supposed to be about running the country for the benefit of all the citizens and with an eye for the future well-being of everyone – an "expat" voter knows that as well as anybody. My vote is no threat to anyone here.  I understand the background and international pressures of the status grants – it's a human rights violation to have thousands of people who can't vote, own businesses or work for themselves – McKeeva had no choice – and it does not influence me one way or the other. I vote my conscience to the best of my ability. 

  7. Anonymous says:

     Bermuda's and Cayman rollover policy is like chaulk and cheese, they are vastly different to compare both would be like a comparison between Mercedes Benz and a Hyundai; in order to know the facts on must first know the product.  For those who know nothing or very little about Bermuda's immigration policy and other facts here read this then do  the real comparison.  Bermuda has a long list of jobs that Non-Bermudians cannot even apply for never mind in Cayman the only job that a Non-Caymanian cannot apply for is that of a politician.

  8. Rattlesnake says:

    I used to live in Bermuda. Believe me, we have it good here in Cayman.

    Bermuda is stuffy, expensive (way more so than Cayman), the weather sucks, XXXXX.

    Cayman people, whether you're an expat on a permit, or you, your momma, your momma's mama, and her great grandma were all born here… We have it SO good here compared to 99% of the world. Knock off the belly aching.

    We need to realize just how good we got it. Bermuda can't hold a candle to Cayman.


    • Anonymous says:

      Rattlesnake you've lived in Bermuda and it seems as if you could not get your way there or could not afford to live the life style that you had envisioned living there.  I see that you appreciate living in Cayman and it would seem for now that you enjoy being here, but for what its worth don't be so much of a Rattlesnake, you can admit that Bermuda is rather beautiful and a very classy place although out of your league.  

      • Rattlesnake says:

        Bermuda's not out of my league baby, I'm out of Bermuda's league.

        I got along just fine there, owned my own business in fact. I made money, and after a period of time, I said goodbye to that cruel mistress Bermuda – and now I call Cayman home.

        Ya sure Bermuda has pretty views and has a few classy places, but I'll stick with Cayman any day. ANY day.

        Oh and I have a tip for you: Don't assume you know something (or anything for that matter) about a person just by reading a few of their words on a website comment. It makes you look foolish when you're judgements are way off.

        The bill is in the mail.


  9. Peters! says:

    Cayman is backwards. Premier Cox in Bermuda is right. Bermuda's infrastructure and business sector is far ahead of Cayman's money laundering, archaic  wasteland.   Cayman is only known for one thing and one thing alone, Launding Money and plenty of it. 


    tiss tiss

  10. Anonymous says:

    Make the expats wear Bermuda shorts so you can spot'em better

    • Anonymous says:

      See how hot and sexy Native Bermudian men are they even have shorts (world famous) named after them.  No! expats are not allowed to wear them, Bermudians only.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Lawyers and accountants first! Gotta professional designation? We’ll stamp your PR as soon as you land at the Airport. Bring your family too!

    • Oirish oi says:

      If I had thati would have bought a house years ago. Instead I am leaving as planned with a house worth of cash because of too much immigration uncertainty.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please try that in Bermuda, would not even be able to buy a 10 year old used car.

  12. Where mi boat at? says:

    Oh, so Bermuda is rattled are they?

    Well what about all the missing boats and planes due to their Bermuda Triangle?

    Now that is something to get rattled about.


  13. Anonymous says:

    Politicians are good at presenting a portion of the truth.  Paula Cox does not mention the 12.5% payroll tax applicable in Bermuda which many businesses pick up entirelyon behalf of their employees.  This tax applies to all employees not just those on work permits and more than makes up for the higher work permit fees here in Cayman.  Cayman, however, cannot have both the payroll tax and its current high level of work permit fees.   There is no doubt, however, that turnaround time and certainity of costs are important for businesses here and there should be no reason why this cannot be improved upon. 

    • Anonymous says:

      you have no idea of the costs involved in running a professional services firm…I'd gladly take 12.5% payroll tax and a more sensible work permit fee any day of the week

  14. Anonymous says:

    The problem it seems is that the Caymanian Government can't tell the difference bewteen low wage income labor workers that want to come and stay by the droves and technically trained people required to be here to make this place tick and remain competative. It's like all or nothing. They are so stupid. One look at the who's heading up the show and there is no reason to ask why.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 1109, Because the Government like the private sector like the people and like the expats are all too lazy they prefer the big broom technique. All you do is call all people from a specific nation one thing. Around here they call Jamaicans criminals, they call caymanians lazy, they call the civil servants unprofessional and they call the private sector everything good.

      To truely deal with the expat issue we need to look at them in more than one group. However this should not mean that we treat one group better than the other. Thats wrong so say England.

    • My2cents says:

      I agree. Immigration have a 'one shoe fits all" policy and don't know how to differentiate between those immigratants we want to attract, and those we don't. It is the same process for a professionally qualified accountant/lawyer/doctor as it is for a unqualified labourer. Whilst they will both work hard, which one is more likely to send their earnings out of the island?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cayman needs to stop trying to be like Bermuda and other jurisdictions. We need to start thinking for ourselves and do what is right for Cayman. It doesn't matter what other's think of our policies amd methods. As long as we operate within the law, we should be able to innovate and set policy that suits our needs as a developing territory. Stop trying to be like everywhere else and maybe we can obtain uniqueness.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Irony: the whole concept of rollover was haphazardly adopted from Bermuda legislation at a time when Cayman was successfully drawing (reinsurance/admin) business from them as a consequence of their failing rollover experiment.  

  17. Anonymous says:

    Hey Bermuda…wanna switch Premiers? We don't need a dime in return for him, all 250lbs of him can be yours baby….NO STRINGS ATTACHED!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am a Caymanian but I must say I agree. Once it is something that the country will benefit from I will always support.

  19. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    That's the problem with expats! There's either too many! Or not enough. But it's their fault anyway.