Enforcement still in question

| 29/10/2013

(CNS): Making the changes to the government’s newly gazetted immigration law and regulations work will depend heavily on enforcement and the prevention of abuses. Although concerns were raised by the opposition benches during the debate on the law last week that there was no new money in the budget for enforcement, the premier said that 13 new immigration officers would be recruited. Five of those will, he said, be dedicated to ensuring that in future employers who are dishonest in any way regarding the employment of foreign workers will face the consequences. But with the recruitment process for those posts only just underway, it will be the current immigration staff that will manage the regularization of 1,500 TLEP holders over the next 45 days.

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, who opposes the bill because he says it is not immigration that is causing local unemployment but a lack of investment and too small a population, has said that he does not believe government can enforce the law.

“Government is being less than genuine on the matter of enforcing what they say they are trying to accomplish with Caymanians getting employed,” McKeeva Bush told CNS following the gazetting of the new law. "It’s not just enforcement; it’s the impossibility of the whole programme. Firstly, everything in the whole programme’s success, as the government says it wants, depends on immigration officers having to check on someone to ensure that they are doing what the law says. But there is a reduction in the money for staffing.”

Although the law introduces a fine of $20,000 for lying to the board, Bush pointed out that there was always a fee for lying to the boards but no one was ever prosecuted as there was never anyone policing the law to find out which employer or employee was lying about which Caymanian was qualified or not.

“I maintain that our problem is not immigration, though; it is that our economy is not moving forward,” he said, adding that before and after Hurricane Ivan in 2004 there were the highest amount of work permits in Cayman’s history and there was little or no local unemployment because all who wanted work could find it.

Bush said the economy was weak because of the opposition to the projects he had proposed during his time in office from the PPM, the former governor Duncan Taylor and others. Bush said the only way to give people jobs was with an economy that was moving ahead with sustainable development.

However, the independent members on the opposition benches believe that unemployment had been exasperated by the failure of the authorities to enforce the previous law and they believe the changes now passed by the PPM government will make things worse. Where they agree with Bush is on the area of enforcement.

During his debate on Wednesday the independent member for North Side, Ezzard Miller, pointed out that while government had increased the funding for handling permanent residency applications, there was no money in the budget allocation for immigration enforcement.

Miller has raised particular concerns over the 1,500 TLEP holders, who instead of leaving on Monday are now queuing at immigration. The workers will need to regularize their status while their employers go through the process of either finding a Caymanian to replace them, applying for a new permit or letting them go within the next 45 days.

While Premier Alden McLaughlin has admitted that the recruitment of the 13 new officers will not be completed until the New Year, he said that the situation regarding the Term Limit Exemption Permit holders would have been difficult even if government had opted to let them all go, as employers would still have to advertise for and recruit their replacements.

McLaughlin told CNS that money has been allocated in the budget for enforcement as five of the thirteen new posts will be focused entirely on policing employers and business staffing plans and nothing else. He said that these new officers will ensure that positions are not inflated when advertised to suit a particular worker and that work permit applications are not misleading. He said the immigration regime will become more efficient as the chief immigration officer and her staff begin to handle more applications rather than waiting on the board to approve every single permit.

McLaughlin said that too much was being made about the decision to allow 1,500 TLEPS holders to stay because the situation would have been far worse if they had all been forced to leave on Monday. He said that so far things had gone relatively smoothly and the processing of these workers was now underway.

The premier said the changes in this bill were just the first step in a complete overhaul of the immigration regime. In four months his government had managed to do far more than the opposition leader had during his three and a half years in office to tackle the various problems relating to immigration and the broken system.

“What did he do while in office? He talked the talk but what action did he take?” McLaughlin asked, as he pointed the finger at Bush for the creation of the Term Limit Exemption Permits problem in the first place, which was compounded with the termination of them all on 28 October 2013. “He is directly responsible for this situation,” the premier told CNS. “I cannot believe that anyone could come up with such a short sighted policy."

Pointing to further changes next summer, McLaughlin said that government would be enforcing the law in earnest and at least making sure local workers were no longer marginalized as a result of a poor enforcement regime.

See new Immigration Law and Amendments as gazetted on Friday below.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Politics

Comments (41)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Enforcement is a small community will always be an issue.

     

    The enforcers will always be reluctant to bust one of their relatives.

     

    Given human nature, this will never be resolved.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is flawed, cheap, reverse psychology.. especially when it is considered that most of  these 'enforcers' (eg. RCIPS/government bodies) are actually of expat origin!

      So, if that is indeed true – give Cayman back to Caymanians!

      (No "Please")

    • Anonymous says:

      Here's an idea, employ expat enforcers.

      Just saying!!

    • Anonymous says:
       
       
  2. West Baya says:

    The real problem is our own a..hole good for nothing uneducated stupid ass kids that's committing the crime! Enough said now go home slap the shit of them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Only one huge problem…

     

    The expat appeal of the Cayman Islands is nowhere near the level current government seems to think.

     

    The Cayman Islands are no longer a tax haven or a particularly safe place to live. Crime is at an all-time high with violent crimes occurring almost daily. MANY ex-pats are already leaving voluntarily or making plans to leave.

     

    Kicking out 1,500 expats who are valued by their employers for reasons that a Caymanian was unable to fulfill, will result in creating not one job for any Caymanian. Instead, the business losing their most important employees will be forced to close down, resulting in higher unemployment and reduced local revenue.

     

    The same unemployable 1,500 Caymanians that do not have jobs now will continue committing the same crimes and being the same burden to society that they always have.  

     

    In a few months we will all realize that this true and invite back the 1,500 expats, who will probably say no thanks.

     

    Future headlines will read:

     

    "Cayman Recession Reaches All Time High in the Absence of Qualified Employees."

     

    Followed by help wanted ads in the US, Jamaica, Canada, Central America…

     

    HELP WANTED! ANY qualified person willing to move to a very expensive and increasingly dangerous island for average pay with no tax incentives, where you will be despised for taking a job that no Caymanian can do anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      OK then – I can only think of two words in reply to that post:

      "Ta-Ta"

      • Ya Mon says:

        I tink dat be what da expats saying now.  Local be sayin "bye bye money and jobs – bye bye. Soon come I follow to where you be".

    • Freakin' 'ell says:

      Meanwhile the remaining expats are making their plans and humming that old Everly Brothers tune that was recently done so very well by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgo–jwFi6k   You gotta admit, it's a catchy tune…

    • Anonymous says:

      Although there will never be any ads like that, a lot of what you have said is true, especially this part: "a very expensive and increasingly dangerous island for average pay with no tax incentives, where you will be despised for taking a job that no Caymanian can do anyway". Cayman ceased being the prettiest girl at the ball a long time ago. There are other places that can provide the lifestyle and earnings potential.  The one ace in the hole has always been the lack of income tax. Can you imagine what would have happened if the expat payroll tax had been passed as suggested last year?

      • Holy Crap says:

        Speaking of that, I remember when the CIG proposed a fee (tax) on money being transferred out of the Cayman Islands, so before that was implemented I wired my cash on hand (a couple hundred grand) out of our Cayman bank and up to a bank in the US (Surfside Florida to be exact), where I was made very welcome.  Ever since then I laugh and laugh at the fact that while living in Cayman I stashed my money offshore (offshore from Cayman) by sending it up to the USA, to hide it from taxation by the Cayman Islands government – now just how funny was that?? 

        I bet the guys at the NSA reading this should get a chuckle out of that as well – hearing that the USA is a tax haven for people in the Caribbean.

        Seriously though, Cayman of today isn't anywhere near as nice as it was when I first went there several years ago.  My favorite restaurants are gone, and the effects of the economic depression are everywhere.  Were I deciding today I doubt I'd go again.  I can get beach time anywhere.  Cayman also needs to consider that expats are by nature very portable.  We come to have a look for a while and if you convince us that we have no future we'll easily pack up our things and our money and go away.  We do have homes to go to you know, and money moves very very fast.

         

        • Anonymous says:

          "A couple hundred grand" eh. Have been here all my life am a professional and working constantly too and cannot even save a quarter of that due to the disparity between locals and expat earnings. Do you see now why Caymanians are upset that they have a bleak future in their Country and need to keep the roll over policy.

        • Michel says:

          Money is a coward in the face of Adversity. I quote from Roy Bodden exact words.!

        • Anonymous says:

          Of course you do realize that you will be paying taxes in the US. 

  4. Anonymous says:
    I think we should:
     
     
    Gather all the details of the individuals being given 45 days, then do the same for the underemployed (UE) Cayamanians, and start doing some grilling!
     
    identify each of the individuals (UE) that meet the criteria of the post and set up interviews. Have someone from the task force sit on the interview and also look at the post in detail.
     
    Most postings label the exact job to the skills of the preferred candidate, eliminate these types of situations and you will really be serving the country.
     
    This is the perfect opportunity for all Caymanians.
     
    1) At a bear minimum, at least 15% of these jobs can be filled by locals
     
    2) It will identify what skills Caymanians do not posses, this can be the focus of training
     
    3) It will identify the ability or lack of locals being able to sell mantelshelves. sometimes we as Caymanians lack the skill of a simple "good interview". I may not be the best at anything, but if an employer can identify that I have the will, drive, and personality to succeed, I will increase my chance by 50%
     
     
     
    Wake up folks, "Miller Time" is all about his personal agenda and not for the country as a whole, that's why he apposes every bill that is submitted, I hope one of the other MLAs can see this and act.
    • Anonymous says:

      First, what the hell is an 'under employed Caymanian', don't you mean unemployed?

      And secondly, the only way to get to the bottom of the unemployed figures is for government to require all unemployed citizens to register with the authorities. Each unemployed individual should get an interview to establish their educational, experience and skill levels and be offered work according to employer requirements, and not their own opinion of what the are worth.

      It's not until accurate figures are produced that effective action can be taken, without the data it is impossible for schools and legislators to know where the deficiences are and where to target vocational training and further education. 

      But all of this is worth nought if Caymanian's do not change their entire work ethic and social responsibilities. You must get a grip of your social ills and educate your children to an internationally recognised standard. They must also be told that being 'Caymanian' is not good enough and that they must apply themselves if they wish to succeed in life.

      • Anonymous says:

        To:Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 30/10/2013 – 10:29.                              You say that Caymanian children "must also be told that being 'Caymanian' is not good enough and that they must apply themselves if they wish to succeed in life." The problem is you are only looking at one side of the coin,now let's take a look at the flip side.In many instances Caymanians observe that being Caymanian is actually looked down upon by some employers ,that being expat is indeed a qualification (though not stated on the application form) .They observe that when a Caymanian obtains a degree at a US college e.g they are told that the English degree is is more highly desired;should one obtain a degree from an English degree ,they are told that it should really come from Oxford or Cambridge.Should one show up with a degree from one of these institutions ,the requirement is then raised to include xx amount of experience and oh yeah,that has to be "overseas "experience.In other words ,they are being told that they will never be good enough.

         

         

      • Diogenes says:

        "what the hell is an 'under employed Caymanian'"?  – someone working for Immigration enforcement or the NWDA perhaps. 

    • Diogenes says:

      Sell  mantelshelves?  What is a mantelshelve?

  5. Otherview says:

    Enforce the laws, collect the fines and use the collected money to pay for the enforcement.

    it works every where else in the world because the laws are actually enforced and the fines are collected or failure to pay results in severe consequences.

    • Anonymous says:

      HA, ha, ha, this is a country and Immigration Service that can't even check a police record whilst issuing a work permit. If they can't do a simple check during the processing stage, and rely on the recipient to do it for them, how do you think they're getting on with enforcement.

      Like the rest of the government machine, pure Mickey Mouse.

  6. WillYaListen! says:

    If we don't "do something" (a silly phrase by my own admission) about crime Immigration will take care of itself. No-one will want to stay here and certainly no-one will want to come and work here – exept the greedy and stupid (the less said about that the better).

    The ability of being able to go out at night without the thought of assault or worse, sleep easy in your  home and not have to worry about the unpleasant wiff of danger permeating the Island's very being is crucial to to a stable society. 

    We keep hearing "Protect Caymanians". This is my Country" OK but it means getting up off your a*s and doing something about it. The Immigration Department's Current problem? Start working 18 hour days to sort it out – or do we need some of the expendable ex-pats to do that? They don't appear to have a problem doing it in their places of employment.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      They don't have a problem working long hours in their places of employment because they are collecting overtime for it or a handsome reward.

      Just think about the crime and it's ugly face.  Is it ours alone or it is theirs, or is it a mix?  Just asking. Get the statistics on it and we should be able to comment more accurately in the future. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    i say………what a huge waste of time and money

    the  7 year roll over was just fine !!

    the tlep don't deserve to be here ! the employers broke the law !

    what a shame !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    send the 1,500 home   there will be no "melt down"

    • Anonymous says:

      11.58..yeah and if the US did not sort out its debt ceiling, it would never have defaulted, right? You need a reality check or tablets…

    • Anonymous says:

      They don't deserve to be here? Okay, so you have met all 1500 of these people and have determined this how?

      What law did the employers break? All those people are here legally. 

    • Will Ya Listen! says:

      "……there will be no "melt down"

      Other than the one you obviously  just had.

    • Anonymous says:

      caymanian will suffer as if 1500 expat plus dependants which about 3000 people leave island then about 1000 empty apartments!

    • Hoping for better days says:

      If 1500 people leave at once the country will suffer. Those 1500 people bought groceries, paid bills etc like all others staying here….food for thought I suppose.  

  8. Anonymous says:

    No new money for enforcement!!

    But PPM promised they would enforce to help Caymanians 🙁

    • And another Ting says:

      JUmping ever so fat to push the law eh! so ya would not listen to the people, this is wa we told yu Premier.T.  Let me say this to ya Mr. Premier, stop spinning round and round, ya beginning to mke us all giddy.  Get up Stand up for the right of your people and do the honorable thing,; provide a period of time for the exit of these workers which will allow for caymannians yow either be trained or hired and for the compnaies ( in consultation with appropriate labor bobtain odies) once they are able to prove that there are no caymanians available, will then and can then work permits.Why is it so hard to undestand that at this stage of our economic base, we need to control our economy and provide a living for most if not all caymannians.  Why is it that your Government has chosen this path of self political destruction, is it because the pressuer is being brought to bear by your foreign and local business handlers? or is it because you dont know how to handle this.Let me tell all a you in Governemnt this, place our people in the hotel industry, including civil srvants thus reducing the civil service bill and obtaining emplyment for the unemploye, with supervised and agreed trainng of course..  Start the minimum wage batlte, ( I am sure ona handlers na gon like it) by raising the minimum wage in the hospitality Industry on a graduated basis, we must have our people in the ndustry, too ong we have heard the cry, oh I am from Turkey, or timbuktu, armenia or tongo. I leave the percentage increaes to your very knowledgeable and learned Finance Minister.  Start a roll back of the duty on fuel, not all at one time, again go figure.  Put a small tax on outgoing bank wires of 100,000.00 and up to be paid to government on a quarterly basis; dispose of the operational part of the water authority and keep the regulatory function, excising a substantial initial acquisition ( one ballon payment initially) from the final buyer, with the remaining funds to be paid and guaranteed to be paid on a quarterly basis over the the first two years of take over.A percentage of the funds obtained from the later two measures are to be allocated to a Disaster Recovery Fund and an Educational Fund for scholarships and towards sports and cultural enrichment.  Finally my dear Fellow Government officials and Fellow Caymanians, if ya let this ship flounder any furher under your watch Dog eat ona supper.  And Another Ting

       

  9. Anonymous says:

    As usual, let's just pump funds in the RCIP service.

    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot, enforcement is conducted by Immigration Officers, not Police Officers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Even though there are criminal frauds involved?

        • Anonymous says:

          Yep, it is for the enforcement team to bring the appropriate case before the courts.

        • Anonymous says:

          Really. It's not difficult, why do you think they have Immigration Enforcement Teams, why don't they just go straight to the RCIPS.

          Let me help you, they're called enforcement because they enforce immigration laws, getting it now?

      • Your Mommy says:

        What a rude way to correct a mistake.  I bet your kids have great self esteem and your wife respects you a lot.  May His Noodliness have mercy upon your sole.

        • Anonymous says:

          Because dim wits like that need to read the full story before taking side swipes at the police. Why do you think Immigration have enforcement teams, if not to enforce the law. Why would the police get the money, let alone be involved in the first place?

          Stupid commentary like that is typical of the hyperbole that surrounds this subject, get it right, then write. Talking of which, I don't have kids, my wife respects me for standing up to idiots and having an education, and if my shoes need mercy, then I'll take them to the repair shop.

        • Anonymous says:

          And may you for ever check your facts and think before posting..

  10. Anonymous says:

    Now everyone, please address spiraling crime.