There will be no suspension of enforcement of the seven-year term, also referred to as the roll-over policy, as proscribed by the Immigration Law (2003), Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said on Friday.
‘There is no way a government can operate in such a manner,’ he said.
Last week, the Cayman Contractors Association called for a suspension of enforcement of the seven-year term limits for work permit holders until the ongoing review of the Immigration Law (2003) is completed and the necessary changes implemented.
The CCA, along with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and some individual business owners, have all said enforcement of the Law could severely hinder local businesses, which are already finding it difficult to recruit staff.
Chamber of Commerce President Morgan DaCosta also said last week ‘it may be prudent for the Government to suspend the roll-over policy until it can work out a new solution’ to the Law.
Mr. Tibbetts, however, said that could not happen.
‘We certainly cannot suspend the law and not have any law while we’re conducting the review,’ he said. ‘We’re not going to do that.’
Early last September, Mr. Tibbetts announced a review of the Immigration Law (2003) would be conducted because ‘a significant number of difficulties and inconsistencies’ had been identified with the Legislation, which he stated had been ‘hastily drafted.’
At the same time Chairman of the Work Permit Board David Ritch announced there would be strict adherence to the Immigration Law (2003) with regard to term limits.
As more and more work permit holders have been sent letters advising them that their permit had been granted for one final year, business owners have come to realise the affect the pending losses of key personnel.
Complicating matters, according to business owners, is the fact that it is currently more difficult to recruit high quality workers to Cayman, partially because of the housing shortage and higher costs of living since Hurricane Ivan.
In addition, worldwide shortages in professions like accounting and engineering make it more difficult to find replacements for those that must leave.
Mr. Tibbetts noted that it was anticipated for issues to arise as the law was ‘lived.’
‘We are doing all we can do as fast has we can do it,’ he said, adding that in the end, the government would find a solution that would be best for the country in the short and long term.