Residency backlog over 1,000

There is a backlog of more than 1,000 applications for Permanent Residency, board chairman Anthony Scott said Friday.

Mr. Scott made the statement after Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts acknowledged there was a substantial backlog that needed to be dealt with.

‘In discussion with (Mr. Scott) there was an agreement the Board would immediately meet twice as often,’ Mr. Tibbetts said.

Amendments to the Immigration Law recently will allow the Permanent Residency Board, along with the Immigration Board and the Business Staffing Plan Board, to add three members while the quorum number remained the same.

Mr. Scott said the new members had not been added to his board yet, but the current board members have committed to meeting ‘at least twice a week’ instead of once a week.

The backlog will still take a while to get through.

‘(The application review process) is very time consuming,’ Mr. Scott said. ‘It’s not just yea or nay, you’ve got the whole point system to look at. You have to give every application due consideration.’

Mr. Tibbetts said changes in the point system for qualifying applications for Permanent Residency had been recommended and were forthcoming because the current system does not offer a level playing field.

‘You cannot simply say you want lawyers and doctors and that you don’t want other categories of persons,’ he said.

Mr. Tibbetts said earning power should be a factor because people have to be able to sustain themselves, but that it should not be the only factor when determining permanent residency.

Because of the one-sidedness of the current system, Mr. Tibbetts said the point system had to be adjusted. The adjustment does not have be taken to the Legislative Assembly

‘It’s a government policy decision,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t have to be legislated.’

Mr. Scott said he did not have the details of the new point system yet.

‘Hopefully in another couple of weeks,’ he said.

On another immigration matter, Mr. Tibbetts confirmed that the current two-year period in which those subjected to the seven-year term limit policy have to leave the Cayman Islands before they can get another work permit will be reduced.

‘I’ll tell you right now, it’s going to be different. It’s not going to be the same,’ he said, adding that the time period certainly would not be longer either.

Mr. Tibbetts reiterated, however, the necessity of the rollover policy.

‘If we don’t have something sensible in place as far as a rollover policy, then we’re going to be in the position of having to accept many new Caymanians,’ he said.

‘This will mean our Caymanian population could easily double every 10 years. I want any nation to come and tell me that’s an ideal situation.’

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