Rollover loophole exists

A loophole in the Immigration Law allows expatriates to avoid the seven-year term limit by leaving the island for six months.

Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson confirmed the loophole in response to a question asked of him after he spoke at the Annual General Meeting of the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professional on Wednesday.

Director of Employment Relations Walling Whittaker asked Mr. Manderson if it were true that some employers had found a way of beating the rollover policy by sending their expatriate employees off the island for a few months before they reached their seven-year mark here, so that their time started over again upon return.

Mr. Manderson said it was true under the law that if a person ended their employment and left the country for six months, he or she would start over from a time perspective.

‘But we looked at this in the new amendments,’ he said, intimating that the loophole would be closed.

The Immigration Law requires expatriates who stay a full seven years and have to leave because of the rollover policy must remain out of the country for at least two years before they can reapply for a permit.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts has stated that the new amendments to the Immigration Law will shorten the time period an expatriate must stay away, but he has not said what the new time period will be.

Some in the community have called for the time limit to be lowered to as little as three to six months, but sources close to government have indicated the time period will be one year in the new amendments.

Mr. Manderson, who was a member of the Immigration Law review committee, said the new amendments are expected to be released to the public very soon.

‘The law is 99.999 per cent complete,’ he said. ‘I would not be surprised if it’s out toward the end of next week.’

However, Cabinet Minister Alden McLaughlin would not confirm the amendments would be released to the public next week, and said they might not come out until the week after next because they have to be approved by Cabinet first.

The public consultation period on the amendments will only last one month because the Government has stated it wants to enact them as soon as possible to help mitigate the effects of the rollover policy.

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