Ten year permits fail to attract new financial experts

| 21/02/2013

(CNS): Stories that have surfaced on the worldwide web suggesting that the ten year permit introduced last year by the former UDP government have attracted1000s of workers in the financial services sector to Cayman are completely incorrect. The immigration department confirmed that since the new extended permit was introduced, less than five applications have been made. Although work permit figures have increased in 2012, this is mainly on the lower end of the scale. Reports of a surge in financial sector workers flooding to Cayman are exaggerated, with few of the numerous policy changes throughout the life of the former government resulting in much of an increase in senior workers. 

The ten year permit was one of several tweaks to the immigration law made by the UDP administration as the former premier, McKeeva Bush, had insisted that it was Cayman’s inflexible work-permit policies that were putting off investors. However, the numerous regulation changes and amendments to the law making it easier for high net worth individuals and people working in the financial services sector to have more security in their immigration status appear to have made very little difference.

The chief immigration officer confirmed that, following the introduction of the ten year permit last year for the funds and reinsurance industries, there has not been much response nor have the permit waivers on support staff for the reinsurance industry been taken up.

“We have seen very few persons take up this option,” said Linda Evans, adding that less than 5 people have applied for permits to the 10 year limit. “I am only aware of one person seeking the waiver of fees for the specific administrative occupations in those industries. Whilst we have seen an increase in work permits overall over the last 12 months, the permits are mainly in the lower skilled jobs which do not attract the 10 yearterm limit,” she said.

While Bush has persistently pointed to immigration issues as being one of the major barriers to the growth of Cayman’s economy, the former premier did not get around to directly addressing the most pressing problem of the country’s seven year work permit limit for most workers, known commonly as the rollover policy, despite the findings of a review which suggested it should be abolished.

With the interim government now appearing reluctant to make any major moves before the election, the rollover can has effectively been kicked down the road for the next administration to deal with it. The introduction of Term limit Extension Permits took several hundred workers temporarily past their lawful departure point. However, they will expire this October leaving the tourist sector, in particular, facing the possible mass departure again unless the next administration can address the issue in a matter of months.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am an expat but I believe rollover should stay. If it were in my own country, I will equally be protective of my countrymen getting prioritized than the outsiders. However, for the unemployed caymanians, blame it on your education. Your education here is not helpful at all.  It is way backwards than most Asian countries. That is the reason why government cannot easily get rid of expats because we are educated better and way experienced than the locals. Business will throw a million qualms and suffer to death if massive lost of skilled expats will occur. If you want to lower the rate of unemployment for locals, start fixing your educational system. If you are able to produce Bachelor Degree graduates, intellectual enough to take on a job, expats won't be a problem for this country. Instead, we can help each other. You take the higher position jobs (so long as you deserve them) and we take the rest. Just saying. 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    it doesn't matter….the damage was done when the gov failed to tackle its wasteful spending and decided to double and treble work permit fees….

  3. ABC says:

    The fact is that the people this was aimed at would be very hard to attract to live in Cayman.  The only real possible target was poaching insurance work from Bermuda but when rats leave a sinking ship they don't tend to jump aboard less attractive sinking ships.

  4. Anonymous says:

    We just have to look at the dwindling population of the island to realise that this story is just that, a story. Has the government not realised that you cannot have a country without people in it? Do what is right for our island – get rid of the roll over policy and stop the government from cutting off their nose to spite our face!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Eventually we will realise that the same person or persons that introduced the roll over in the ill-conceived manner that it was, are the same persons on the current immigration review team.  They seem to hang around bars drinking and then make this stuff up as they go along!  They have made a mess of our immigration laws, helped ruin the country and history will prove this.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Has the penny not dropped yet that the roll over has screwed the Island?

    • Anonymous says:

      The penny dropped with the 2003 mass status grants by cabinet, that is what has screwed the Islands and don't forget it, this was our Pandora's box.

      • Anonymous says:

        You do realise that most of those people would all have status by now anyway, don't you? You know about Judge Graham's ruling, don't you? You know what the UK's view was on the thousands of people here for 15, 20, 25 or more years without security of tenure, don't you?  You know that the UK has the power to force just about anything it wants on Cayman if it feels that Cayman is breaching a basic human right, don't you? If you don't know these things, you shouldn't be commenting foolishness. If you know these things, you should also know that it was inevitable that thousands of foreign nationals were going to get Caymanian status. If you want to blame someone, blame every successive government since the late 1980s that simply kicked the immigration can down the road until one government either had to deal with it or face the prospects that the UK would. I certainly don't agree with the way the UDP government implemented the status grants, with all sorts of people getting on "lists", but a large majority of the people who got status in 2003 had been here more than 10 years. They had immigrated here, spent a major portion of their lives here, had contributed in various ways and had a basic human right to stay. Cayman can't just use people during the useful part of their lives and then discard them like old bread.

        • St Peter says:

          How many people were in the same position at the time of these 3000 status grants?

          Was it 12,000 or 15,000? I cant remember the figure Mac always claims, and he also claimed that he had no choice because the U.K. would have intervened.

          I have always wondered what happened to the additional 9,000 that did not get status if it was 12,000 or what happened to the other 12,000 if the figure always claimed is that 15,000 were in the same position?

          Seems we have a lot of people missing. Hope those additional thousands did not go missing in hurricane Ivan…

          • Anonymous says:

            Ah, you've hit on a point that very few have considered. What most people, especially the McKeeva/UDP bashers, don't realise is that since the status grants of 2003, even more people have received Caymanian Status since. Some of those 9,000 left the island, some died, but most of them have gone through the system as the Immigration Law permits and have received Caymanian Status since then, many during the PPM years. The truth of it is, unlike in years past when getting a Status application approved was difficult, almost everyone who applies now on the basis of having been legally resident here for 15 years gets it. People are getting Caymanian Status all the time. Part of the reason the work permit numbers are down are because of all the people with PR and Status now.

            • Anonymous says:

              What nonsense. People are not getting Caymanian status all the time because now you cannot qualify for it on the basis of length of residency alone. You must first be naturalised.    

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes many deserved it and should be here. What about the criminal element? What about those that may have paid money under the table to get it? What about those that neither like Cayman or Caymanians? What do you say be done with them?

        • Anonymous says:

          These people came here to work or make a better life than what was offered in their country, so Cayman wasn't using them.  They were using Cayman, so basically, Cayman owes them nothing; they owe Cayman some gratitude and respect.  Stop your entitlement mentality and it seems you were not entitled to much back home because you left.

    • noname says:

      It is ok for the tourist sector to see mass departure. We have 4,000 Caymanians without jobs,  we do not care about work permits being cancelled, run out, expired or otherwise all of which are standing in the way of Caymanians having the opportunity to enjoy gainful employment in his or her own homeland.

      Stop the madness please!

      And oh, the rollover, must STAY.

      • Anonymous says:

        10.47 your understanding of how business and the world works is very limited. In any other major financial centre or tourist sector in the world, you try going to get a job and say 'its because I come from here that you must employ me". Employers don't give a sh*t. They want hard working, no attitude people. The attitude you show is exactly the one employers hate and why they will avoid employing you if possible. The "entitlement" attitude. That is what is killing Cayman…even in politics- they steal because they "deserve it" in their own minds. Reality check needed people.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually you don't have 4000 without jobs. You do have more than that without education though.

      • Anonymous says:

        So, 4000 Caymanians have the same education, experience and expertise as the Expats who are doctors, lawyers, educators, financial consultants and CPAs??  Really??  Then why weren't all of those outstanding candidates hired?  It is the law that all expats employeed must be so only if local, qualified persons cannot be hired. So, either every company that hires expats is listing fraudulent work responsibilites that only expats have, or maybe–just maybe the local population is not as educated, experienced or expert as you think.

      • Anonymous says:

        As expat jobs left, Caymanian unemployment went up, not down.That's a fact.  You can look that up if you care to.  Some of you people really don't have a clue about what drives the Cayman economy. You wantthe good times back? Bring in more people, and more highly-qualified expats and Caymanians will not only get more jobs, but more of those who are educated, talented and motivated will rise to positions of seniority. There are plenty of examples out there of those who have made the most of these opportunities.

        This isolationist and xenophobic mentality that so many Caymanians who post here express is hurting  the attractiveness of the Cayman Islands to foreign talent and investors and is limiting opportunities. What is going to happen (and in fact has already started) is that educated Caymanians are going to find better opportunties abroad than they will here, especially those with US citizenship already.  Like there was after World War II, there will be an exodos of Caymanians to the US, leading to the dreaded 'brain drain'.

        Rollover has definately hurt the Cayman Islands, just as it hurt Bermuda.  That said, Bermuda's immigration situation is a lot differentt than Cayman's because it has plenty of local labour (i.e. citizens) willing to carry out the more menial jobs. Cayman does not, which is why it has to import so many Jamaican, Filipinos and Central Americans. It is therefore probably impossible to get rid of the rollover policy completely, but having a system where everyone has the right to apply for Permanent Residence after living here a certain length of time and then either gets it or doesn't get it on the merits of their investments, education, skills, etc. would help keep the people we need here. The sooner the politicians stop pandering to voters and pretending this country can be successful without expatriates, the better off everyone will be.




        • Anonymous says:

          Expat jobs did not leave and have not left (as a general rule). There are many thousands more expats in employment in Cayman now than ever before, and thousands of expats have become Permanent residents or Caymanian. Your whole perception, like that of many, ignores the fundamental facts.

          Population in 2000 (when rollover was conceived): 40,000.

          Population now: 60,000.

          50% inctease on 2000 figures in 13 years and still growing exponentially even with rollover – and you want to get rid of it? Mustbe that you don't have any children that will be living their lives here.


          Try a different brand of Kool-Aid.

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanian unemployment is a myth.  Anyone who is sober, not high and not a convicted criminal can get a job whenever they choose. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, I think this story proves exactly the opposite – that our economic decline has little to do with rollover since a 10 year permit gives one security for 10 years and the opportunity to apply for permanent residence at 8. We can expect much the same result if we abolish rollover.  

      • Ex-Pat says:

        Either that or … You told us we weren’t welcome, so we left and took our business and money with us. You then said “ok, you can stay 3 more years before you need to piss off”, and we said no thanks, the jurisdiction is already no longer interesting.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The review was absolutely firm in it’s conclusion that Cayman must have a rollover system. The only issue is to who it should apply and whether it be at 7, 9 or 10 years.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Duh, why would anyone sign up for the CONSTANTLY increasing, ill thought out, exhorbitant fees our "brilliant" despots think up to cover their wasteful spending. Foolishness at its best.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The TLEP thing was a joke from the start… it was designed to reduce the number of foreign workers leaving the island but now they’re facing a worse situation now… all those on TLEPs will leave in October AND all those being rolled over this year too… wonder what the numbers are now?