Permit ID cards return

Work permit holders living in the Cayman Islands will again be required to start carrying government-issued identification cards.

Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson said the new cards have been sent out recently to some people whose permit applications were successful.

Mr. Manderson said the cards should be issued to permit holders shortly after they receive notification that their permit has been approved.

The permit ID cards have not been given out for several years because of what Mr. Manderson described as technical issues.

‘We had some problems with our machines that were issuing the cards,’ he said. ‘But we now have purchased two new machines.’

Mr. Manderson also noted, with the arrival of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, the manufacture of new permit ID cards was placed on the back burner.

‘Obviously, when we were in the big rush after Ivan, that was not a priority for this (Immigration) department,’ he said.

Cayman Islands law requires work permit holders to have the ID card and to produce it on the request of a police officer or immigration enforcement officer.

In the next budget year, the Immigration Department plans to triple the number of on-site inspections it performs at businesses. Those visits are aimed to ferret out Immigration Law violators.

Mr. Manderson said without the ID cards it becomes difficult to check who is working legally, since many people don’t carry their passports with them.

‘If we were to go to a construction site, how would we know whether any one of those persons there had a work permit?’

In the past, Mr. Manderson said the cards have been used by permit holders as an all-purpose form of identification.

He said the government may eventually get to a stage where the permit holder could use the ID card to travel with.

‘I haven’t heard of anyone complaining about it,’ Mr. Manderson said. ‘As a matter of fact, people were asking for their cards a year ago because they had become so used to using the cards for other identification purposes.’