TLEP needed to pass rollover

| 03/10/2011

(CNS): The government has introduced a new permit that will allow people to stay in the Cayman Island past the seven year term limit known as rollover but it will not save them from having to leave the islands after a further two years. Changes to the immigration law were rushed through the Legislative Assembly on Friday without the 21 day consultation period because, the premier said, the law was needed urgently, otherwise the country could lose important business. The new Term Limited Exemption Permit (TLEP), which is now available, will allow all those on their last work permit whose employers are successful in making the application for the new permit to stay. However, the extra time will not count when it comes to permanent residency, government has said.

Although the permit will make holders lawfully resident and will lead to thousands of work permit holders passing the eight years, people will not be able to make a permanent residency application while holding a TLEP. The twelve month exemption permit can be renewed and anyone can apply for one, even those turned down for key employee or PR, but TLEP holders will not be able to stay in Cayman beyond the extra two years that the TLEP provides for.

Government’s aim is to prevent what could become a mass exodus over the coming year as more than 5,000 work permits are due to expire during the forthcoming 18 month period.

Althougha TLEP can be renewed once during the two year suspension, workers that do not achieve key employee status will still have to leave after two years since the ‘key status’ element of the law has not yet been suspended. Government says the TLEP is a stop-gap solution to prevent the mass exodus while a new immigration review team comes up with a new policy that balances the issue of retaining workers and protecting the integrity of the Caymanian population.

Presenting the amendments, the premier told the Legislative Assembly that the rollover policy was causing more harm than good and the way that it currently operates is standing in the way of economic recovery.

“We are implementing measures that will allow workers who have very recently reached their term limit or who will reach their term limit in the future to remain employed in the Islands, either for their present employer or a new employer, for a further period of up to two years,” McKeeva Bush told legislators as he asked for their support.  “This will give us time to formulate a new policy that will serve to advance rather than hinder our economic recovery, whilst at the same time protect the long-term interests of Caymanians born in the islands.”

He said claims that government was creating another bottleneck of permanent residence applications were unwarranted. Once a worker has held a Term Limit Exemption Period for two years, Bush said, they would still be required to leave the Islands and they will not be allowed to hold a work permit for at least one year after they have left, unless they qualify to continue to reside under another provision of the immigration law, such as key.

Bush also warned that it was not a rubber stamp, and said that each TLEP application would be carefully reviewed to ensure employers had made every effort to find a Caymanian who can do the job.

“We are doing the right thing,” the premier claimed and said he expected scare tactics would be used against the policy, but if government didn’t do something to address the issue things would get far worse.

The government passed the amendments with the support of its own team. Ezzard Miller the independent member voiced his opposition to the move and his continued support of rollover but was absent for the vote. Meanwhile, while the leader of the opposition abstained from the vote because, he said, the decision to introduce another permit was simply pushing the problem down the road. He urged government to eliminate the policy altogether and allow each and every person who stays on the island for eight years to apply for permanent residency and use the PR stage as the place to decide who Cayman should invite to reside permanently and eventually go on to gain Caymanian status. 

Look out for more stories on CNS regarding the immigration debate in the LA this week.

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  1. so Anonymous says:

    Problem solved!  The Caymanian way!  Cayman you will now get exctly what you deserve.

    When fools lead you are lost.  But You will have all the jobs.(that might be left)  good for you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The sad thing is that many will take advantage of this since it is still better than what they can go back too.  Not all expatriates that are here are highly skilled and to many it is the best they are ever likely to get.  I dont want to name groups but you all know who they are.

    The government is trying to have its cake and eat it.  I am a Caymanian and recognise that expatriates will be needed for a very long time to come.  Those who assimilate and fit in to the community deserve to be treated with respect and absorbed into this multi ethnic society.

  3. Polly Tricks says:

    Cayman showed how welcoming it was to ex-pats by its behaviour during the good times.  Ex-pat memories don't fade that easily and the risk that the law will change, especially if Ezzard or the PPM ever got into power, means that they have no sense of permanency here.  This is why so many of them have left and so many are not making long term plans here.  No law changes, short of an immediate status grant, will change that.

  4. Geoge Towner says:

    16:03 I am sure you meant living under the sun, eating the bun, having fun, living with the nun BUT  and not the gun.

  5. Anonymous says:

    TELP? What?? WTF is going on???

    10 year permits, residency for $500k, Rollover, Key Employee …just making it up as they go along each day! BIZARRO

  6. Knot S Smart says:

    Was it not our Premier who brought about the Rollover Policy in the first place?

    Remember he also had the mass giveaway of Status?

    Now he is telling us that the rollover policy is not  working? Like its our fault?

    And now  again he has another Immigration brainstorm?

    I Wonder what calamity this one will bring?

    And also was it not a year ago that he was all over television telling us that he would turn the economy around in 90 days?

    I wonder how that plan is working out.

    Oh well. Rome was not built in a day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh well. Rome was not built in a day… but it only took 5.5 days to burn.

    • Anonymous says:

      UDP brought it up, and PPM continued it. Remember the newspaper cartoon where you sawkurt and alden rolling on the ground… which signified "rollover." Both parties were involved with this policy. Just this year is when both leaders of the parties have became vocal about the policy not working.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Please stay expats for another 2 years said "the silly Cayman Government" and keep your money in Cayman.  We dont want you to have permanent residency but we want you to stay and spend your money here only for another 2 years said "the silly Cayman Government"  The 2 years should give the Islands enough time for a miracle to happens and the islands get rich again. 

    Should you buy a house? Answer: no beacuse you wont get residency to live here.  Should you buy a car? Answer: no because you only have 2 more years unless government changes the law again and tells you to leave ASAP.  Just a little humor to a sad situation.    

    • Anonymous says:

      well said….2 more years of living under the gun…..just what is needed around here…………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  8. Anonymous says:

    why not have a 20 year tlep?…… i may want to work here for that long but i never want to be considered caymanian…..

  9. Anon says:

    So, still no investment in the country then. Very bright, Mr Premier. Just marvellous!

  10. GR says:

    So all the TLEP has done is push the 'mass exodus' back 2 years?

  11. Anonymouse says:

    Sheyah, Right, " the extra time will not count when it comes to permanent residency".

    Judge: Were you living in Cayman?

    Applicant: Yes.

    Judge: 'nuff said, bobo. Here's your 'green card'.

    • Anonymous says:

      Its a numbers game.  

      Assume 1,000 people are turned down in 2 years time. Maybe there will be 100 who have legitimate reasons to appeal, as opposed to those simply delaying their departure. Then the attorneys inform the 100 that its going to cost $25k to appeal, $50k in reality. Of those 100, 50 say its not worth it. Apparently there are other countries with opportunities.  Who would have thunk it?  Of the second 50 people that appeal, the Tribunal has to weigh two factors: One, who wants the appellant off island? Two, does the appellant have a good chance in court? Ultimately the latter outweighs the former and it the person has a strong court case, the applicant is granted residency. This keeps the resident quiet and the boards can go back to business as usual – dispensing favors (good and bad.)  

      If there are any doubts that this is how the system works, we need to remember two facts. One, thousands of people who had been year 10 years plus were given their walking papers. Two, of these thousands, how many court cases have we heard?

      Because this is how the actually system works, there really is neither a points system, nor a good chance of a case going to court. Cayman will accept 50 while letting 950 go. Its a win – win situation.