Work Permit process ‘broken’

The Cayman Islands Immigration Director and an Opposition Member of the Legislative Assembly both said this week that the system for dealing with foreign job-seekers needs an overhaul.

Opposition MLA Rolston Anglin said the volunteer board, which hears work permit applications,can’t keep up with the number of new hires being brought to the islands.

‘Immigration work permits will never be current, as long as you have a voluntary work permit board who are political appointees,’ said Mr. Anglin during Monday’s debate over the immigration bill in Legislative Assembly.

Mr. Anglin wants the Immigration Department to handle routine processing of work permits, allowing the permit board to be used as an appellate body for complex or controversial applications. He said it might also be used to oversee audits of the department.

Immigration Director Franz Manderson agreed.

‘A lot of the work permit board and the business staffing plan board work can be done administratively. Do we need 10 people to decide whether a large construction company needs a mason?’

Mr. Manderson estimated the work permit board can handle between 100 and 200 applications a week. He said 10 immigration office employees reviewing 10 applications a day could finish 500 each week.

‘It would mean retraining some of the staff that I have,’ said Mr. Manderson.

Mr. Anglin said the work permit backlog has created another problem. He said too many temporary work permits are being issued by the government, and he said those go far beyond the original intent of what the temporary permits were supposed to be used for.

‘If we were to end that system, our economy would collapse,’ Mr. Anglin said. ‘It’s an absolute mess, the system has broken down.’

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