Premier: ‘Bill misunderstood’

| 27/09/2013

(CNS): The premier defended his proposed immigration changes Thursday, maintaining that some people misunderstood what the reforms were meant to achieve and what the result would be, and he accused some of spreading falsehoods about the changes. In the face of a planned rally next month against the immigration amendment bill tabled last week, Alden McLaughlin said it was the democratic right of people to demonstrate but he really hoped that they would take time to understand the changes and the bill's intent. Admitting that there had been much internal discussion in government around the bill, he said his Cabinet was not split and he was confident of safe passage once it reached the floor of the LA. 

Nevertheless, the premier raised concerns about the current opposition to the bill during his presentation at the Chamber of Commerce annual legislator’s lunch.

“It has not escaped my attention that either through ignorance or mischief there are people who have been playing on the emotions of Caymanians to try to convince them that their interests are not being protected by the Amendments to the Immigration Bill,” the premier stated.

He said that the rollover policy had not been abolished, even though all ex-pats will now be allowed to stay long enough to apply for permanent residency, and said those who are refused PR will still be rolled out. McLaughlin said the term limit was not being removed but extended from seven years to nine for all work permit holders. What has been abolished, the premier said, is the key employee status, which will level the playing field for permit holders.

“The change means that all work permit holders will be treated in the same way,” he said. “Under the current system, it is the employer who makes the determination as to who is a key employees and who can stay beyond the seven years to eventually qualify in terms of time spent on island to apply for permanent residence. By extending the length of time a work permit holder can remain to nine years and allowing all work permit holders who reach eight years to apply for permanent residence, government can now decide through an open and transparent points system who will be granted permanent resident status rather than having this determined by employers, he told the audience of Chamber members.

Speaking to the press after the lunch presentation, McLaughlin said that the new PR point system would change and be more robust. He said applicants would require 110 points instead of the current 100 to qualify and more factors would be considered.

The premier said that, despite the debate andthe opposition from some quarters, he believed that the majority of peoplewere in support of the changes and that they would see that this would not “open the flood gates” for all ex-pat and permit holders to become Caymanian. He said that although the criteria for PR would be fairer, it would be more stringent and therefore everyone would not get through.

In the face of the planned rally, McLaughlin said he hoped that when people saw the reality of the situation they would come to a different view as their fears will not be realized, and said their concerns were entirely unfounded. However, if government believed there were significant numbers of people opposed to what was happening, it was prepared to listen to those concerns.

“We have paid attention to concerns all along,” he said, adding that this was why government had pulled back from the original ten year limit and why it was clamping down on what have been seen as fraudulent job descriptions by employers, designed to tailor jobs to specific individuals.

McLaughlin said that the real problems for Caymanians were happening at the other end of the process, when employers were seeking ways to employ ex-pats in the first place while Caymanians were available, and that would be part of the next phase of reform.

“The entire immigration and work permit application process is being strengthened and protections built in to protect the integrity of the system,” he added.

The premier said he would be talking widely over the next few days about the various specific provisions of the bill ahead of the debate in the Legislative Assembly.

The strategy to reform the immigration policy was to make it more responsive to the employment needs of Caymanians, he added, while at the same time ensuring that the labour needs of the market are adequate to service the areas where Caymanians are either not qualified or not available.

McLaughlin stressed, “Immigration legislation is, among other things, used to protect the jobs of the local population.” But he added, “It is not, in and of itself, employment legislation,” as he emphasised that the government was also tackling unemployment through the National Workforce and Development Agency and various other initiatives.

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  1. Anonymously says:

    Do we learn anything from history? If this continues the headlines will soon read civil unrest and  uprising in the Cayman Islands due to lack of employment opportunities.  It is not necessary but that is what is about to happen if the negativity about Caymanians by expats and continues.  I has happened in Bermuda over two decades and by God we are about to let it happen in Cayman, people wake up and learn.  The BVI's are ready and poised to take overfrom us like we were from the Bahamas.  Politicians stop pandering to self serving expats and locals rather follow the law and do what is right before we end up like the Bahamas.  This new generation is willing to take us there if the politicians are not willing to do what is necessary as a result not to let it happen.

  2. Catca Fire says:

    People coming to work and stay in any place should always be made to feel welcome but they should in return appreciate and respect the place and the people who live there, some of our people and our own politicians make these guests feel they do not have to do niether. Then allowing these same guests to increase in large numbers thereby increasing their influence and prominence inevitably leads to friction between them and the local populous.Then by allowing that influence and prominence to make or dictate policies and laws to control and direct the economy of the place will no doubt change friction to increase tension between to the two. When the people see protections being given to these same guest that is not afford to them or their own children tension turns to animosity or hatred and will nodoubt futher ecalate to more serious things. A solution is for both guest and populous to have direct discussion on how they can work together for the betterment of the place they live in. Making Fool fool politicians act as middle men in that discussion usually leads to uprisings and civil unrest.

  3. Anonymous says:

    We understand.  The Government wants us to prefer second rate employees over the best and undermine the confidence of existing staff. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Would I be the only one to wonder why, if a person has been in a job for 7 or 8 years and every year (or two, possibly 3 at the very maximum) their permit has been renewed and ADVERTISED as per the law, a 'suitably qualified, willing and able Caymanian' has not been employed in that position as required by existing laws?

    I have been in that position where a Caymanian applied for my job once however they obviously misread the part of the advert that stipulated they had to be a dive instructor,as the applicant could not even swim so I didn't loose a lot of sleep ……

  5. Foreign Devil says:

    Bob and weave Alden, everything soon be good, full employment soon come, Shetty hospital and Dart hotel will fix everything. 

    and do not forget to thank McKeeva when it does.

  6. Anonymously says:

    I want every lawyer, doctor, accountant, manager, secretary, administrator, banker, clerical and skilled and semi-skilled worker to be granted PR and status and for every Caymanian skilled and un-skilled to end up working as maids, janitors and fast food store workers because we don't listen the older people warned that this would happen.  Sometime back a doctor once said on a talk show that in his country of origin there were people working at Burger King with 8 O'levels and that it would happen here one day it is happening good people.  This stage was set long time ago and Caymanians did not realise.


    • Anon says:

      Exactly.  Only the profesional work permit holders should be allowed to apply for PR, never unskilled, as they are putting money into Cayman's econonomy through rental and property and they are able to provide for themselves when they retire.   But then again, the fashion now seems to be if you can't get PR, marry a Caymanian, so I guess this would just get worse as everyone would probably try that route instead.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Will you listen to the ppl on the steps of the Admin building or will you ignore them like Mac? Will you accept the petition and act on it or throw it in the bin like Mac? This will determine the next election for every MLA !!

  8. Anonymous says:

    So lets get this straight. UDP gave out the 3000 grants that equal 5000 persons, then forced the buisness to hire those individauls qualified or not. Now PPM want to give another set the same and before the bill is started, he is already telling the buisness that they should absorb this persons when they leave there current jobs after getting secure of tenure. So cayman will be stuck with the same persons jumping job to job and secured to know they can apply all over the place and make false complaints and knowing how the system works, lot of companies will be forced out of buisness. Am I the only one that notice that everything is being said about the few giants companies that are not paying goverment revenues or nothing much? Shetty? Dart? Ritz? CIC? Are these the only companies out there? What about the average Joe Caymanian landscaper or hard working Caymanian? What are we to do if we cant even try to do a little buisness or get permits to keep someone for even 2 years? What good is 7-8-9-10 years if there is so much problems getting  a simple permit for 1 year? Now we are being told we have to hire Caymanian, as if they are already anticpating the need to secure those same person that are or were suposed to be secured already. There should be a restriction on anyone being granted security of tenure. The employee should be legaly obligated to the same employer for a certain time instead of being allowed to start  Job hunting to see what  is out there. PPM , not even one single mention of what they doing to help Caymanians or small buisness., so its the same old same old. Different but the same. If new people are not brought into the Islands we gruadualy have nothing new to learn, laziness kicks in then buisness have to close or move on. Permits are not the cause of un-employment in Cayman, its the so call "security of tenure" of persons that become a drain on Goverment. Give those big companies the ease to replace those permit holders with another permit and you will see how fast loyalty is put aside in order to move on with life. Is it that good in Cayman, that you cannot return even for a year to your own home country? Yep, it is that good. How can you compare a bartender applying and staying here for 9 years, yet qualified accountants living here year by year and  investing in cars and homes, but every year have to be biting nails in case the permits are refused. I know some casheirs here must be over 10 years now. A good buisness latley is getting married to a caymanian for 6 months. Only ci$ 6000.00 and can make a bonus if you time it right on the last year so allowing for status grants faster. Just have to hold hands in front of the immigration officer and pretend to be  a loving couple. Some are married to person making enough to pay them to stay home. What is a meesly 1200$ compared to a 10k$  a month salary? Its pocket change and can get PR in average 2 years. kachingg$.

    • Anonymously says:

      You want your cake and eat it too, expat employees for as long as you want but not to give them PR so that they can move on and make more money and open their own business OMG.

  9. Spirit of Ormond Panton lives says:

    Mr. Alden how exactly does this bill assist Caymanians today in the current economic climate? Listen to the people

    I understand the roll over policy has not been removed. The PPM have extended term limit from 7 to 9 years. Where in the ppm manifesto did they state this was going to happen if they were elected and formed the government? 
    The concept of a roll over provision has always existed in the Immigration Laws. It is not possible to stay in another country indefinitely without a defined period attached to a person's immigration status. 
    • Anonymous says:

      Spirit, you are wrong on several counts. Get yourself a copy of the Progressives Manifesto and read page 9 – starting at the bottom of the first column. You will see the proposed "Rollover" reform described there. The Progressives    Secondly, prior to 2004, there was never, in concept or specific detail, a term limit or rollover provision in our laws. That is why we ended up with work permit holders living in Cayman for multiple decades. Above all else Mr Ormond would havewanted to be sure of his facts so if you will emulate him you should equally be sure.

    • Anon says:

      The PPM have been repeatedly  saying they would do just this since 2011.  A quick search on CNS, Cayman 27, the Compass and Net News and a read of their manifesto from the election campain easily proves that

  10. Raffaelle says:

    No Mr Premier its you who has misunderstood or misread the people The 2 additional years are merely for the chosen few to circumvent the system and continue their little displacement program and then remain there when they get PR & status as far as the level playing field is concerned that doesn't exist infact everytime government has mess with the immigration laws it has tilted to favor a certain segment of our society and to disadavantage Cayman on a whole. They are right about one thing calling it "Rollover" because if this ship name Cayman tilts any further it will rollover and turn bottom up! Yes Caymanians Your Vote is the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and wreck the country as far as making Mischief Mr Premier you must be talking about how you all decieved voters with your so called PPM manifesto. Thereal trouble with ignorance is that as it goes along it picks up confidence.

    • Anonymous says:

      the caymnian fools voted ppm take what una get hahahahahahahahahahaha

  11. Anonymous says:

    Total rubbish.  Sounds just like what the previous premier would say.  If it is indeed misunderstood it is an indication of government failure to present it as it should be understood!

    I am so tired of government after government making promises they they cant fulfil and making stupid announcements 'urging employers to hire locals'.  Every man and his dog knows this does not work.  This is not fixing the problem these are just words with no actions.

    Is it realy so hard to do what you were elected to do, you know 'represent the people'!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. We don't need to constantly change laws, we need to start enforcing the ones we have!

    • Anonymous says:

      With the majority of work permit holders being on the poverty pay scale and sending their earnings home weekly, ******************** and the heigher earners leaving after 8-9 years.

      Whare are the benefits to all Caymanians and our country in this proposal ????????

      Oh I forgot, I do not understand!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes you are right its not fixing the problem.  What would fix the problem would be if the government made a huge cash injection into providing basic vocational educational at 14-16 year olds at school, and providing vocational colleges offering international recognised qualifications for the positions currently being taken by expats.  Explore the skills gaps and educate your own people to fill them.  The successive governments have failed their Caymanian people in this way for years, instead passing the burden of education on to the businesses that invest here.  In all honestly, we all know that if we were to decide to start a business, we'd be doing it with a view to making a profit.  If business people wanted to educate, they would have trained to be teachers not entrepreneurs.  This continued complacency in government responsibilities in terms of education is what has turned so many of us against the businesses who trade here, and expats who work here, and the problem will only persist and get worse if we don't turn this around and provide more educational opportunities for our people.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The National Workforce and Development Agency, needs to get off their rear end and work.  Use his mouth less an engage his brain.  Stop wasting government's time to his own advantage and assist the people who are in need of job placements. Their are too many seat warmers who could only stay in those positions in government.

    Help people, then help yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      And companies are expected to get rid of good hard working employees and replace them with seat warmers? I dont think so.

  13. Anonymous says:

    well said alden….. but the fact that this legislation is brouight in at the eleventh hour is a perfect example of the incompetence of local legislators……

    the rollowver policy made a mockery of the so-called 'christian virutues' of these islands

    • Anonymous says:

      Hold on. Alden inherited this situation. He is just trying to sort it out and he's only been in office 4 months.

      • Anonymous says:

        Alden was one o f the original arcitects of the roll over little you know

  14. Anonymously says:

    Premier McLaughlin is right, this amendment is a good one and gives better opportunities to all applicants for PR and Caymanians for job opportunities.  No one should complain about the process. 



    • Anonymous says:

      How does it help Caymanians?

      PPM looking after expats instead those who voted for them in May. Why push this thru? This law harms our own people. You need to understand that Alden

  15. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of level playing fields, when will rollover be applied to expat civil servants?


    What is good for the private sector should be good for the public sector.

    • Anonymous says: is your country (well, technically not, but hey…) please go ahead and do what Mac failed to do, kill the economy completely..all these parties are so stuck in their own rhetoric and dogma that they cannot see what would actually be good for the Island. The stupid thing is, that if they talked deeply to those representing expats here, they might actually find that we are part of the solution, not the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      "What is good for the private sector should be good for the public sector."

      Yup I totally agree.  So, I also assume you wouldn't mind paying the same contributions towards health insurance and pensions as the private sector do too, thus making a huge saving on the public purse/government coffers, that could be better spent elsewhere – perhaps on vocational education for the unemployed?

      • Anonymous says:

        People – remember that civll servants WILL be happy to pay their contribution IF they have access to private healthcare – but that would sink the CI Hospital!

        Same deal with CINICO!

  16. Anonymous says:

    The NWDA is a joke. The Immigration department is a joke. Your unwilingness to punish those responsible for destroying the lives of your people is a joke.

    “Protections are being built in?” They always were! What oh what have you done?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Alden the only thing being misunderstood is you. Caymanians are ot fools and you categorizing them as too stupid to understand what is supposedly in your good for them is totally out of order.

    I voted for you Alden…Now I wish I had never done so…Fooled me twice young man but never again. You colors shine bright!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure you voted for Alden. The lack of comprehension tells me you are a UDP voter.

    • Anonymous says:

      If he fooled you twice I guess you're too stupid to understand. Thanks for the vote anyway.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Alden, all you are doing is rewarding unscrupulous employers for failing to prepare for the end of the TLEP. There are Caymanian employers who have invested in providing opportunities for local persons and have succeeded in growing a predominantly local workforce. Those that planned ahead are being slapped in the face. Those who did nothing are being rewarded.

    Please tell me, how do I apply for one of these 2,000 jobs that become available in a month? I am yet to see an advert!

    Your people are seriously pissed off. You are doing too little, too late. No-one has been “punished” beyond a slap on the wrist for any of the widespread abuses of your people. I hope you enjoyed your lunch with some of the offenders.

    • Anonymous says:

      21.46…how could you prepare for something that has been uncertain for years?? Mac says one thing, Alden another..

  19. Anonymous says:

    To those Caymanian's who wish to see the back of all those greedy expats, just think about the consequences of FATCA when the US imposes its tax rules on Cayman next July.

    Those wealthy individuals who decide to quit the US, (and it would appear that many are) where do you think they are going to go?

    They are going to go to countries where they can invest and settle down to life beyond the reach of the IRS. One thing is sure, it won't be here, they will take their money out of Cayman's banks and start a new life, with a new passport, in a country that values their contribution.

    The Brits will be next, followed by the rest of Europe and then the world.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are so right! Many people here don’t understand the FATCA law that will help destroy Cayman and the way we do business. It was a sad day when the Cayman Government signed that piece of legislation that they could have easily refused like Bermuda.

      This in NO WAY, SHAPE or FORM will help the Cayman Islands. But when you have people in power with peanuts for brains they agree to everything like bobble heads. SMH

      • Anonymous says:

        Bermuda announced that they would adopt the both U.S. FATCA and UK FATCA in April, 2013. You don't know what you're talking about. We had no choice.

      • Anonymous says:

        what rubbish 08.55…if you ain't in it you ain't going anywhere…you become a pariah again… Bermuda does not have a choice…its a BOT..

      • SSM345 says:

        08:55, Is that you Mac?

        Perhaps you should learn about it before you claim to be such a well versed scholar in FATCA.

        Like someone already pointed out, there is nowhere to go in terms of setting up shop unless you want to put your money in a place like Iran or Syria.

        Clearly you are not involved in the Financial Industry otherwise you would be well aware of its impact.

      • SSM345 says:

        Think of it as a sledgehammer attempt to curb "offshore tax evasion" or (more accurately) as a costly, counterproductive, and indiscriminate burden on the global economic system; a compliance nightmare that only benefits tax lawyers, accountants, and software firms; a job-killing disincentive for foreign investment in the United States; a crude extraterritorial overreach in violation of every principle of sovereign legality; an abuse of the U.S. Senate's constitutional treaty authority; a blatant violation of WTO and other trade commitments; and a financial "drone strike" against Americans living abroad.

    • Anonymous says:

      that's weird…the industry i am in just started to see an increase in american investors/clients for this very same reason.

    • Anonymous says:

      The funny think is that the article you link is good news for Cayman but you have twisted it into something bad for a self-serving propaganda effort. 

    • Anonymous says:

      FATCA is being implemented worldwide. If the business is leaving for blacklisted countries I wish them the best of luck operating in places likes of Iran, North Korea, Syrian, Kenya, etc. Cayman's reputation is worth more than dealing with those unscrupulous enough to go to such lengths.  

    • Anonymous says:

      @21:24 I agree the Americans don't need to come here now but trust me, there is one group of nationals that will never leave, thay have to prove they can take what they want, you know, those with the need to avenge forefathers and continue colonial control on Caymanians.

    • J Salasi I. -111? says:

      Ya na shoot straight sah, many wealthy individuals pay taxes so they na scared of hire reporting.. Cha.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Yeah Yeah Yeah Alden, Playing on Caymanians emotions you say..That's just politricks and you are the master of this it's how you got in office… So enjoy a taste of your own medicine now that you're in the hot seat.. After all its what you so desired fought for and will get you a big pycheck for the next four years…Maybe next time the people will be smart enought to kick the UDP and PPM to the curb..

  21. wayasay says:

    Mr Alden, I for one am not speaking from ignorance nor am I creating mischief as I have read the bill. I agree with everything you say the bill is designed by Government to do. Where we part ways is that or the life of me, I do not understand how you can say that these changes are for the good of the country. It addresses NOTHING that is of concern to Caymanians today. By your own admission Alden, these changes do nothing but address the concerns of employers who want to keep their rollover employees for two more long years and guarantee a cretain percentage of the rollover workers perminant residency and status. You will not even tell us how many or what precentage will qualify because you feel it is more important to bring this bill than to at least wait until we have the criteria for PR. I dont know Alden, I voted for you without you even asking me to and now you say, if I want to tell you I dont like this, then I will have to March in the hot sun and depending on the number of us, you may reconsider??????? MARCH HERE I COME

  22. J Salasi I. -111? says:

    Mr. Premier ya na a listen to ya people. Why do you have to pander to the Chamber and the wider business community, who have been wholly irresponsible in not rolling these individuals out and bringing in new ones. We don't feel your pain because you are not feeling ours. You have positioned your people policy not to favor immigrants but certainly to disfavor your own. It might even might have been more reasonable to say to your people and these who you are pandering to , " you got 9 months more" and then its over.  This would have given you time to get a proper handle on what skill sets are  available from the pool of  unemployed caymanians and enabled a matching process while businesses got their ducks in a row and allowed for a smoother transition and obviate the need for granting permanent residence period. But no Mr. Premier your desire to wax strong in the eyes of your donors certainly has clouded what some thought was a keen insight to our social, political and economic issues.

    You have been found wanting Missa Premier, remember 4 years don't take long.




  23. Anonymous says:

    Ok now that the new immigration law may be seen, what about the other promise of pensions be stopped for foreign workers.  Why should companies pay pension to employees who are GOING TO TAKE THEIR MONEY OFF THE ISLAND!!! Times are hard, and at the end of the day at least 50% of the time monies put into pension are lost on investments.  Keep it for Caymanians, status holders, caymanian connections for they will be a burden to society, but why have to pay it for someone who is not going to put it back into the country????????Government has gotten away with not paying pension at times why does the prvate sector have to pay?

    • Anonymous says:

      We should we pay pensions from our wages to provide for the days when we are retired and can no longer work, and then give it all up to Caymanians when we move on?  All over the world people pay pensions and the money stays in a pension plan until they retire – wherever they come from and wherever they work.  If you used your British passport and went to work in the UK for many years, then chose to come home to Cayman to retire, how would you feel if the British government insisted you give up your pension (so it stays in Britain) then go home to Cayman and retire with nothing?  Can you not see it makes no sense?

      Your energies would be better directed at all the politicians double-dipping from pensions now, while they are still working.

    • Please read says:

      Moron, are you really that dumb ?

      If we take away the requirement to pay pension for expat employees can you guess who people will want to hire ? 

      Think about it! 

      I have to pay 5% of my Caymanian employees salary into a pension fund, but I dont have to pay anything for an expat. Hmmmm, looks like its cheaper to hire an expat, hmmm I guess I will go hire an expat…..


      Use your brain please….



    • Anonymous says:

      I think you may find that would run into a human rights challenge. Once a person has legally been allowed to work in the Cayman Islands, you can't really then discriminate on the grounds of nationality (national origin is classed as the same as race under human rights law). I suspect that it would be challenged in the Courts and any law to that effect would itself be classed as illegal (and yes, odd as it may sound, laws passed by a legislative assembly CAN break the law). The UK Government has had similar issues with laws allowing the deportation of convicted terrorists being held, by the Courts, to be incompatible with human rights obligations (and thus unenforceable).

      A pension is a form of enforced savings and is just deferred income from employment – how would you like it if someone decided to give you a pay cut because of where you came from, or told you where to spend your savings? If they know what they are doing, employers figure out the TOTAL remuneration package they want to pay out for a job and work backwards from that – the pension isn't a surprise add-on that they didn't allow for.

    • Anonymous says:

      The pension I pay into is a private one, not run by the CIG, and probably the same one that all pay into. So as I pay it (and my company too), it is my money, my investment, for my retirement, and not a burden on the state. So it does not matter a damn if I take it here or elsewhere, its mine. Taking it from be would be theft. And if expats had no benefit from contributions, they would not pay in, your funds would be smaller and more prone to volatility.