Automatic residency for some

One provision of the proposed immigration amendment bill will give what amounts to nearly automatic permanent residence to those people who have lived in the Cayman Islands continuously for the past 18 years.

‘It’s what one might call an automatic grant (of permanent residence),’ Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said at the Cabinet press briefing Friday.

‘The law is being changed to the effect that persons who have been living in the Islands for 15 years or more on 1 Janaury 2004, and who have applied for permanent residence, will have their applications approved by the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residence Board, unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so.’

Most likely, those exceptional reasons would refer to serious criminal offences, Mr. Tibbetts said.

Thus, people who will have been here 18 years or more as of 1 January 2007 will not have their permanent residence applications determined by the points system as set out in the Immigration Regulations.

Mr. Tibbetts said it was only fair to allow the people who had been here that long not to be subject to the same system as those here only eight years.

Although he did not know off the top of his head how many people had applied for permanent residence that had been here 15 years or more as of 1 January 2004, Mr. Tibbetts said he did not believe the figure was ‘thousands and thousands.’

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