Five won’t deal with rollover

| 21/01/2013

immigration office_9.jpgCNS): The current government will not be bringing any significant amendments to the immigration law, the deputy premier has confirmed, because the bill is not ready to bring to the Legislative Assembly before the parliament is dissolved in March. This means that the situation regarding the controversial seven year term limit, known as "rollover", will be left in the hands of the next administration. Around 1,372 foreign workers are currently on temporary exemption permits, introduced as a short-term fixed to avoid the feared exodus of hundreds of workers throughout 2012. However, with no sign of the necessary overhaul of the law, the next administration will have only a few months to deal with the issue or face the same problem.

Speaking at the government press briefing last week, ahead of the minority government's trip to London to speak with the FCO about Cayman’s budget and cash flow issues among other things, DP Rolston Anglin said that the immigration amendment bill was nowhere near ready for the Legislative Assembly and would not be dealt with before the May general election.

Although the UDP administration madenumerous changes to the immigration law after it took office in 2009, the main reform of the law has continued to be under review and the controversial rollover policy, which limits workers to just seven years, has remained in force.

However, because a significant number of people come to work in Cayman in 2005, the year after Hurricane Ivan, many of them were due to be rolled over last year under the immigration law’s seven year term limit on work permits. Between October 2011 and December 2012 close to 3,000 work permit holders were facing rollover, many of them working in tourism and unlikely to get key employee status, leaving the industry with a potentially serious staffing crisis.

The immediate problem was solved when government introduced the short term fix with the term limit exemption permit, valid for up to two years. But many of those temporary fix permits begin to expire this year, and while employers could be facing the same potential problem before the beginning of the next high season, in reality a large percentage of the exemption permits were managers, professionals and financial service workers.

More than half those facing rollover applied for the TLEP and almost 90% were granted, and at the end of 2012 close to 1,400 were in Cayman on the special stop-gap permit.

How the next government intends to deal with the rollover problem as well as the continued level of foreign workers in the jurisdiction as unemployment continues to rise among Caymanians remains to be seen. The opposition leader, the former premier and the current minority government have all stated that they favour changing the rollover policy. The only politician currently in office who remains in support is Ezzard Miller, the independent member for North Side, who says he wants to see the current immigration law  properly enforced.

The immigration review team, which has been working on the law on and off since 2009, also recommended the end of rollover. It is not clear yet if the amendments will lead to all workers being allowed to stay long enough to apply for permanent residency, which is where the authorities will place what barriers it feelsare necessary to prevent significant numbers of foreigners becoming Caymanian, a position now supported by the opposition PPM.

There were 16,147 work permits holders on the island at the end of 2012, and combined with government workers, key employees and those working by operation of law, there was a total of 20,112 foreign non-permanent workers living in Cayman, well over half of the labour force.

The situation remains a difficult one for government and is likely to form a key issue of the election campaign. With work-permits generating a significant chunk of government revenue, there is little motivation for government to cut the  number of foreign workers and address the growing rate of unemployment among Caymanians, which is hovering around 10%, as it will be undermining its own earnings. Despite the increase in unemployment over the last two years, the number of foreign workers has been climbing again since a low of 19,106 at the end of 2010.

The largest numbers of foreign workers here still c,ome from Jamaica with nationals from the neighbouring island making up 40% of all overseas workers. The next largest group of workers is Philippine nationals, who make up 13% of the foreign workforce, following by those from the UK who account for just 9%. The largest number of permits is still held by those at the bottom of the socio-economic pile, or what are termed as the elementary occupations such as domestic helpers, caregivers, kitchen, laundry, beach attendants as well as labourers and cleaners.

For more immigration statists visit the immigration website

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It wasn't third world before! It was a beautiful, tropical Islands, sitting in the Caribbean sea and tourist loved coming to visit here. It became third world since you all came here and destroyed it, through greed and prejudice against the Caymanian people. We were living harmoneously, we were friendly and loving people, but you all changed everything to suit you the foreigners not the Caymanians. You change the way of life here and forgot the indigents way of life. You could not make it in your own countries, but you wanted to be in charge in this one and a few stupid leaders allowed you all to do so…all for the love of money!  Change is NOT always good.

    • Anonymous says:

      oh yeah…the good ole days…..zzzzzzzzzz

      if you like it so much go make some rope in cayman brac…..

    • Anonymous says:

      So for the love of money and the price was right….you all sold your land!

    • anonymous says:

      Nobody has the monopoly on being an expat, so if it is that bad here, there are plenty of other places to go to.

      One thing though ….. don't let the aircraft door hit you on the way out!

    • anonymous says:

      I suspect that with or without outside interference, it still would have got there to third world status!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why not allow everyone on the exemption to be able to apply for residency, as the number of people on exemption aren't much.  Not that every single of these applications would be successful and be granted residency. This will at least assist the Caymanian landlords from facing the same economic condition again, in the meantime.   This will also assist in boosting the population as was suggested on these pages, for tourism growth.

    • Anonymous says:

      My My!!  Our Tourism growth is not good. Have you ever looked around our Islands, and see what our population is beng boosted by??? – not  too interesting, we need to stop and think of the new generation of our Islands. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    That 1300 plus work permits should be converted to Caymanian employment. Just go home guys for a year or 2 and give us a break.  Too many foreigners out on our streets, on ECayTrade begging for jobs, when they should simply just go home and stop reaping these Islands more of the Almighty dollar. Leave something for us to try and grasp and survive on. You all came here for money, you found us peaceful, flourishing and living in harmony, you were not satisfied, you started getting involve in changing what attracted you here in the first place, just to suit you all. you starting changing what was uniquely Cayman, you made a mess of our Islands. Changing laws, changing our environment, destroying and letting the dogs take over, please leave and don't look back. We were once known, as the Islands that time forgot and that made us unique and special. We wentto progress, progress destroyed what was Caymanian.  Now…. we want to try and salvage what is left, if anything for our last remaining born, true blooded Caymanians.We want that laid back, serene, peaceful, beautiful and happy Islands back.  Please leave……

    • Anonymous says:

      don't you just love the caymankindness?????…….zzzzzzzzzz

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, it was a regular garden of eden back when….

    • Anonymous says:

      Whilst I can see what you are driving at, none of these "changes" were made by any foreigners.  Foreigners might have sought or encouraged such changes, but only the Caymanian government elected by the Caymanian people were able to bring about such changes.  Perhaps people should think more about this with the upcoming elections, rather than constantly pointing the finger of blame at foreigners and increasing the already widening divide and poor relations that have come about also as a result of these "changes".

      • Anonymous says:

        Or a Cayman government bought by foreign money.

        • Anonymous says:

          Either way, the result is the same, you can only blame your government for allowing this.  They were the ones who made the final decisions and deals that ultimately affect Cayman.  Time for the blame to be placed where it truly belongs.

          • Anonymous says:

            10:05 the blame belongs to both.

            • Anonymous says:

              I disagree.  At the end of the day, no matter how much a foreigner wants to change things here, such changes can only be FACILITATED by our government.  The buck stops with them.  Same as the buck stops with our government also for failing our children on education, so that we can turn out a strong and skilled workforce instead of importing the same foreigners for all the jobs here, and expecting employers of private businesses to provide the education that the government fails to provide in schools and vocational colleges here.  Someone mentioned before a comparison with Barbados who used to have the same problem.  The same problem was easily remedied by a huge injection of cash from the Bajan government to improve education – both at schools and vocational facilities.  We should be demanding the same from our own government and stop expecting private businesses here to do it.  We've got to face facts and see where we're going wrong, in order to fix such problems.  Only nobody seems willing or able to do this.  Sad.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you mean…please leave…and leave us alone to convert our beautiful islands into a third world country?

    • Anonymous says:

      Or.. just imagine how nice Cayman would be if Caymanians just went back to whatever country they are from and let us work in peace and harmony.  Or maybe just try and stop blaming anyone else or your own problems and just get along. Please.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just googled the phrase "the island time forgot".  In the first three pages of results, there are many islands mentioned.   The Cayman Islands are not among them.  Not unique, then, really.  

    • Anonymous says:

      freakin' door to the airplane kept hitting me in the ass, so I had to stay.

    • Anonymous says:

      So why did ye all sell out…the price was right?

  4. Common Sense says:

    Hmmm…I just can't wait for the first class-action court cases under the new Human Rights law to tackle the roll-over. Better amend the law before the you-know-what hits the fan!

    • Anonymous says:

      Whilst we are on human rights and equality, how about equalising the playing field and human rights abuses of Ex-pats?

      Ex-pats are prejudiced against in every job application (Caymanians first, even if not qualified), Ex-pats dare not create issues with Caymanians at work lest someone writes to immigration and complains, almost guaranteeing a non-renewal even if that complaint is totally unjustified. No appeals process in against such behaviour..


      And the effect, no-one from expat community (except for Paper caymanians bosses) will say a damn thing to any Caymanian at work about laziness, attitude or other for fear of being reported. That effectively means our Caymanian friends feel untouchable and therefore can do what they like, work hard, be lazy or obnoxious… and even worse, it coccoons the lazy ones into thinking they are quite good….is that a real and balanced society?? Were they to leave Cayman, they would get a shock in the real world..

      • Anonymous says:

        What complete rubbish. Caymanians are routinely discriminated against in the workplace and dare not report it for fear of losing their jobs, and worse, of being blacklisted by the other expat employers for being 'trouble makers'. There is no protection for Caymanian whistleblowers.

        If a complaint is made against you are entitled to see that complaint. If the board decides not to renew you have a right to continue to work as long as you have filed an appeal which usually means for what would be the duration ofyour next permit.   

        You are just trying to re-inforce the lazy Caymanian stereotype with your bigotry.   

        And by the way, Caymanians are citizens and SHOULD have preference in respect of any employment. You must be out of your mind to suggest otherwise. There is no human rights abuse there. Of course in practice we know that is not how it works at all. Caymanian applications are put in the shredder by people like you who hold the prejudice about Caymanian 'laziness'. The applicants hear nothing further until the see Mr. Expat sitting in the job they applied for but were not even granted the courtesy of an interview. Then there are the tailor-made ads to suit Mr. Expat who is already sitting in the job on a temporary permit.

        Stop spreading lies and propaganda.    

  5. Anonymous says:

    To be fair, they should not deal with anything important.


    The current temporary government has no mandate, they are the classic "lame duck" government.


    May elections cannot come soon enough.

    • Anonymous says:

      but what happens after may??

      • Anonymous says:

        The new government will have a mandate to do whatever the Caymanian voters want.


        Caymanian voters can vote for ethical and competant government or vote for corrupt and incompetant govenment.


        The choice is theirs.

        • Anonymous says:

          "…Caymanian voters can vote for ethical and competant government…".

          Man I laughed hard when I ready that!  I'll be chuckling all day no doubt.

      • anonymous says:

        Generally … the s…. show continues it is just under another name with different 'dream books' producing government accounts.

  6. Anonymous says:

    to poster 9: 37 union jack you must be flying wrong side up, at least it sounds like it.

  7. noname says:

    In the 1980s and earlier – financial institutions and most of the private sector hired school leavers at entry level positions. Many of whom advanced to senior positions and even management.
    Such opportunities no longer exist.
    Why is this? The entry level positions are still there but are being masked as professional jobs by companies who simply do not want to hire Caymanians whether qualified or not.

    I’m employed by an offshore bank where it is made clear on a daily basis that it is the banks preference to hire nationals of the banks origin. Job ads are posted in the papers advertising the jobs under false qualification requirements and are only posted after they have already decided to hire a friend of a friend. Guess who’s asked to train them in – these supposedly qualified professionals? I am (the unqualified Caymanian). Promotions and salary increase are based primarily on NEPITISM.

    Last year alone three key employee work permits were issued to persons without proffesional qualifications – persons whom I trained into Jobs that should be held by Caymanians.
    It is stated as an immigration policy that only professional persons who are willing to train and guide unqualified Caymanians will be granted key employee work permits. WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!!

    To conclude –
    Sadly the issuance of work permits to persons claiming to be professionally qualified and are not-
    will continue to go on until the government enforce immigration policies and stop granting work permits as as a cash-flow of quick revenue at the expense of it’s people.
    All countries have immigration policies. They are put there for a valid and necessary reason.
    Now enforce them Cayman! Put an end to all the threats and bullying by large corporations that allow such vulnerability.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think there is still time to correct the situation and emulate Bermuda. FIVE years of work permit only and no matter what, no exceptions after that. The benefilts are manyfold, but just to name the 2 major ones :

      1) We WILL have a constant supply of the work permit fees, which the island definitely needs &

      2) This does not give the work permit holder any false hopes of settling here and usurping the job forever. The permit-holder can plan their stay and lives accordingly, just like they do in Bermuda. FAIR and SQUARE.

      There is still time to remedy our past mistakes, whether its PPM or UDP or C4C who wins, they need to remember if everyone starts getting PR, our children will have even less jobs to qualify for and as is no secret, only the select end up getting the top jobs, with sometimes, very clearly cooked up resumes, false references. While the local boy, who is probably a better worker than the guy who was rewarded the job is left twiddling his thumb simply because he does not have the 'GIFT OF THE GAB' and does not know the head of the company or has the wrong skin color.

      Cannot highlight enough about sham that corporate firms indulge in the name of job advertisements that are placed in newspapers. The candidate is always selected before the advert is placed and the candidates are mostly supplied by the select 'personnel providers' or the job agencies.

      BEWARE! This streak will continue when the party holders child/grand child will be out to get a career and will be turned down repeatedly, breaking their spirits and they might end up on the streets, god knows where that might lead.

      BEWARE my friends who has the power to change, BEWARE!




    • Anonymous says:

      In other worlds everything in Cayman should be run like they run their Government.  Good luck keeping any business running for longer than a week with that attitude.  If your so great at what you do start your own business and only hire Caymanians and show everyone else that it really can be done.

  8. Anonymous says:

    we just need capable people in office to make ecomonic decisions to help sustain our future. mindless spending and the constant he/she said wont get us anywhere but to the stage of a comedy where we'll constantly the topic for stupidity, greed and just plain STUPIDITY!!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    the '5' won't do anything between now and May….. they are spineless…. and never forget their incompetence over the ast 4 years….

    • noname says:

      Pass the buck???? And you better don't sign it either, neither those outgoing or those incoming.



      • Anonymous says:

        No my dear 12.56, you need to vote for those that will give the proper education that will mean the employers want to employ Caymanians and not expats. And they would tomorrow if they could find them, because NO FEES to pay for Caymanian employees. And that education needs to instill in those people a work we work with some pretty good Caymanian colleages here and we love them, but even they say that something needs to change as a large portion of Cayman is not well enough educated and has become lazy. For expats, if we get lazy, we get fired, never mind the work permit issue. Hence we are motivated to work to earn the money. Here, a foreign corporation firing a Caymanian for being lazy is just going to stir up a shit storm. Balance is needed. And a local workforce that keeps the expats to a minimum because it is motivated and can do the jobs properly.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Only Solution 

        A Native, Indigenous, Generational, Caymanian


        Long Live The Revolution !! 

      • Anonymous says:

        Barbados used to have this problem many years ago.  But their government did what our government fails to do.  Rather than expecting private businesses to be educators, they made a huge cash injection into education, and now produce a very literate, very qualified and very able workforce, particularly in the field of administration.  The result?  Its a very difficult place for a foreigner to get a work permit.

        We need to demand this of our politicians/government?  All the current approach does is cause bitterness and hatred towards one another when once there was peaceful relations.

  10. Union Jack says:

    "The largest number of permits is still held by those at the bottom of the socio-economic pile or what are termed as the elementary occupations such as domestic helpers, caregivers, Kitchen, laundry, beach attendants as well as labourers and cleaners."  So what this says is that Caymanian unemployment is entirely voluntary – it is just Caymanians do not want to do these jobs. 

    • Anonymous says:


      'it' doesn't really say that

      • Anonymous says:

        What are you trying to argue here? That employers refuse to hire Caymanians for the low-tier jobs? That the unemployed Caymanians can't get a job doing untrained labour?  Please. The original post was likely unnecessary because of its obviousness, but let's not pretend it's not true.

        • Anonymous says:

          It is true to a certain extent that some Caymanians will not do "unskilled" labour jobs and their attitude needs to change. However, a living wage needs to be paid for these jobs so that everyone who does them is paid a reasonable amount.

          It is also true that some companies do have a permit holder in mind when they advertise a job. I am Caymanian, have a business degree and many years experience and applied for a job I was well qualified for several years ago. I did get a response to my application saying the company would get back to me. They never did and then hired someone on a permit. Perhaps I should have complained, written to immigration or whatever but who wants to end up in a job where you are labelled a troublemaker before you get in the door?

      • Anonymous says:

        Ummm…….get with the programme!

    • Anonymous says:

      Union Jack,

      Please clarify -Are you insinuating that the only jobs unemployed Caymanians qualify for are these
      Bottom of the socio-economic pile?
      If you are – I’m suggesting to you sir that “you haven’t a clue of what your talking about” .
      They are permits being granted every day to so-called qualified professional persons under false pretense –
      When they are qualified professional Caymanians out there out of work.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean in the same way that Americans don't want the jobs that Mexicans do?!


      • Anonymous says:

        Hey, don't blame us for your problems. You've got an underclass and don't want to admit it or do anything about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, it is a wee bit more complicated than that.


      The Caymanian ruling class enacted the current immigration law (aka indentured slavery law) so that they could import very cheap labour. In addition, the Caymanian ruling class has draconian control over the indentured slave through the threat of immediate deportation by withdrawing a work permit. This draconian control gives the employer (aka slave owner) the power to:

      – deduct pension payments and not pay into the pension plan.

      – deduct health care payments and not pay into the health care insurance plan.

      – demand long working hours with no overtime payment.

      – force the indentured slaves to live in over-crowded and high rent accommodations.


      If the indentured slave complains to the immigration department, they are promptly deported. Problem solved.


      The true enemy of the Caymanian working class is the Caymanian ruling class.