Chief Immigration Officer, Franz Manderson, spoke at the Immigration District Evening public meeting held recently in North Side.
While applauding companies that provided employment and training opportunities for local people, Mr. Manderson said others left much to be desired.
‘Our goal is to see more Caymanians being trained for positions, including senior level postings in our workforce,’ Mr. Manderson said.
As examples of good corporate citizenship, he cited several companies which offer scholarships for Caymanian employees.
To encourage such attitudes, Mr. Manderson said the department was looking at developing a reward system for companies which have consistently committed to training and hiring Caymanians.
On the other hand, he said, authorities have intensified investigations of employers who break work permit rules and deny locals desirable job opportunities.
Mr. Manderson emphasized that his staff and Board members are working to ensure that positions advertised are legitimate and that companies have exhausted all efforts to find Caymanians to fill vacancies before they are offered to foreign nationals.
‘We have probed cases where businesses use misleading advertising. For example, a company may say it needs a clerk, when in fact it needs an accountant,’ he said, adding that such deception usually aims to avoid paying higher work permit fees.
Mr. Manderson noted that these falsities also cheat citizens who might have applied had the correct positions been published.
On a related matter, Mr. Manderson voiced his concern about the number of persons in the country on work permits, but without work.
He asked Caymanians and other employers to inform the Immigration Department of the change in employment status of workers no longer employed to them, and to be honest when filing applications for permits.
Regarding the responsibility of Caymanians, Mr. Manderson advised young Caymanians to pursue appropriate qualifications to ensure that they can compete in the labour market and take advantage of employment opportunities.
‘We could eliminate all 25,000 work permits tomorrow, but what would be the point if there are no qualified Caymanians for these positions?’ Mr. Manderson asked.