The Department of Immigration has announced an amnesty from prosecution for certain immigration offences. The amnesty becomes effective from Friday, 9 December, and will remain in effect until Friday, 23 December.
The terms of the amnesty are as follows:
(i) persons who are residing illegally in the Cayman Islands, i.e., individuals without a valid work permit or any other lawful permission to remain in the Islands, may leave the territory during the period of the amnesty without fear of prosecution.
(ii) employers may cancel work permits for employees for whom they have no work without fear of prosecution. The employee in question will then be expected to leave the territory before the expiry of the amnesty.
(iii) similarly, employees who are employed on a valid work permit but whose employers no longer have full-time employment for them may cancel their work permit and leave the territory before the expiry of the amnesty without fear of prosecution.
After this amnesty period has expired the Immigration Department together with other law enforcements agencies will actively pursue those persons who have not taken advantage of this amnesty and who are continuing to commit immigration offences. Such persons will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and deportation will be recommended where appropriate. It should be noted that the maximum penalty for overstaying is a fine of CI$20,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, and the penalties for work permit offences range from fines between CI$5,000 and CI$15,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.