Let employers take responsibility

I recently read a press release stating that English is essential and further stated that this was the highlight of a recent meeting of the Immigration Department in the district.

In any event I note that Mr. Manderson elaborated on the concerns of the Immigration Department of work permit applicants that were denied entry to work in the Cayman Islands from non-English speaking countries after they arrived on island and sat the English proficiency test.

I also note from the comments of Mr. Manderson that the Immigration Department in the future will implement a procedure by the way they network with local agencies in the country of the applicant to ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements before they make the journey to come to the Cayman Islands and quite possibly fail the test and then have to return home.

Whilst, I agree with Mr. Manderson that it is unfair that individuals from non-English speaking countries endure financial losses when this occurs as they have to travel long distances etc., I do not agree that this country must engage in retaining services overseas and no doubt pay for such services to avoid this from occurring. I feel that this responsibility should lie solely with the employer to pay for such services to be conducted prior to awarding that applicant the position and then having them uproot and travel to this country.

I am sure that many will boo me for this comment but at the same time please note that we once had to pay hefty repatriation fees and many complained and now where has that left us. I know of persons who cannot find the return airfare home and have to find assistance from Social Services. Why is this Government’s responsibility?

It is time that the employer is placed in full and complete control of their employees on all levels.

What the Immigration Department can do is to identify the agencies that can handle this pre-screening process and then provide that list of approved agencies to the general public to pay the fees associated with the screening and take on the role of conducting their own background checks ahead of time. If the employer fails to conduct such screenings at their own expense and then imports the individual or individuals to this country and they fail the English proficiency test, then the responsibility of returning that individual back to their homeland should be that of the employer.

The Department of Immigration needs to focus more on the protection and control of our borders vs. employment matters such as this. The granting of work permits should lie solely with the Department of Employment Relations.

My beloved Caymanian people and Islands the time is coming when we can all place our X in the box next to a name that we feel will genuinely sail our ship back off the rocks.

We must now take heed, be strong and stop talking but rather putting actions to your words. To our older Caymanians who are easily influenced bear in mind that your decisions affect your children’s future. I ask you to make wise decisions in the May 2009 General Elections and speak up and be heard. This is your country and no one else is going to come to these shores and love it as much as you do.

R. Scott