In order to preserve Cayman’s ‘intellectual capital’, the Chamber of Commerce wants a reassessment of immigration policies.
Speaking at the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon on Wednesday, COC President James Tibbetts said recruiting staff was becoming an increasingly difficult challenge for businesses in all sectors in Cayman.
‘In a world where intellectual capital is the true measurement of success, we must ensure that we are not harming our economy by depleting our intellectual resources,’ Mr. Tibbetts said. ‘We believe that it is time for Government to sit down with industry leaders to reassess immigration policies to ensure that the intended result of the rollover policy is occurring.’
Mr. Tibbetts noted the decline in the value of the US dollar, increasing government hiring and term limits for work permit holders were all making it difficult for Cayman employers.
‘More and more businesses are now outsourcing good paying jobs to other countries,’ he said. ‘This is a troubling trend and one that our legislators and the private sector need to monitor closely.
‘We need to ensure that immigration policies are working to help businesses to grow locally rather than in other countries.’
Mr. Tibbetts said he was pleased to see nearly 375 people enrol for classes at the new University College of the Cayman Islands campus and Civil Service College on Cayman Brac.
‘It was also encouraging to hear the Minister [of Education] report that the enrolment at UCCI over the past two years has increased from 650 to 3,600 students,’ he said. ‘While this is extremely positive news, we must accept the fact that the demand for qualified Caymanian workers greatly surpasses the supply.’
Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts, who attended the luncheon along with several other legislators, spoke to the audience after the Chamber president’s keynote address.
Although the Leader of Government Business responded to several other points made in the Chamber president’s speech, he did not comment on the call for a reassessment of the rollover policy.
He did, however, respond to the Caymanian Compass on the matter afterwards when asked if the government was prepared to meet with the Chamber to discuss the immigration policies.
‘We intend to do that,’ Mr. Tibbetts said. ‘Time has passed [since the implementation of the rollover policy] so we need to sit down and discuss the effects.
‘It does not mean we’re going to agree on everything, but we’re certainly prepared to sit down and talk.’