UDP: Retirees not competing for business

Wealthy retirees who can be given
permanent residence under the Cayman Islands Immigration Law cannot work or own
businesses without proper permits.

Chairman of the government-appointed
Immigration Review Team Sherri Bodden-Cowan said the issue needed to be
clarified following some confusing reports in the international press and other
public commentary last week.

Mrs. Bodden-Cowan said permanent residence
had at one time been offered to rich retirees here for as little as a $400
one-time fee and $150,000 in investment.

Premier McKeeva Bush said during a
Tuesday night public meeting that this amounted to “giving away” permanent residence
– the right for a foreign national to remain in Cayman for the rest of their
lives.

Government has proposed to up the
ante, offering permanent residence for US$1 million to those whose net worth totals
US $10 million and who have promised to invest some $2.4 million of that in the
Cayman Islands.

“If we can attract such wealthy
retirees to our islands it will produce a much needed boost to our economy,”
Mrs. Bodden-Cowan told a crowd of some 250 people at Tuesday’s meeting in front
of the George Town
courthouse.

“Any reports that such people are
allowed to work without a work permit are false,” she said.

Earlier in the week, former
government Minister Charles Clifford said that the $1 million for permanent
residence proposal would mean that the country was essentially inviting in wealthy
businesspeople that would compete with local established companies.

Mrs. Bodden-Cowan said there has
been a misunderstanding on this issue.

“Nothing could be further from the
truth,” she said.

“The Premier had spoken earlier of a
25-year certificate for entrepreneurs and investors who would be allowed to invest
in employment and generating businesses in the Islands,”
she said, adding that the proposal was initially introduced in 2003 as a way to
generate inward investment.

“This does not give persons the
right to permanently reside, and it does not exempt them from having the necessary
licenses to carry on business.”

Mrs. Bodden-Cowan said those
investors would still be required to obtain a trade and business licence and
adhere to the principles of the Local Companies (Control) Law.

The Cayman
Islands requires all businesses domiciled here to be at least 60
per cent Caymanian owned.

Proposed changes that would allow
for the $1 million permanent residence offerings will have to be approved by
the Legislative Assembly.

Key employees

Mrs. Bodden-Cowan said some
outright “lies” had been told regarding certain immigration issues – including
the award of key employee status to foreigners.

Key employee status allows a
foreign worker to stay in the Cayman Islands
up to nine years – long enough to apply for permanent residence.

Mr. Clifford said in a press
statement earlier this month that the ruling government wished to grant some
9,000 key employee designations to foreign workers in the Cayman
Islands – including those in the finance, tourism and construction
industry.

Mrs. Bodden-Cowan said certain
arrangements made to facilitate key employee applications for finance industry
professionals and domestic helpers wouldn’t even affect 10 per cent of Cayman’s
foreign work force – in other words, less than 2,500 people. 

She said other industries could
apply for and obtain key employee status for their workers – but that those
companies would be required to show they were good corporate citizens.

“We will ensure that only those
companies who are in fact training and promoting Caymanians…are likely to have
key employees granted to them in the future,” she said.

1 COMMENT

  1. Something to think about,,
    im from the UK and have purchased a very nice property here in grand cayman, of which I paid stamp duty of in excess of 100,000 Ci, my wife and I love spending time here , so much that over the past few years we have spent more time here than in the UK, we have absolutely have no intentions to work here in cayman, as any business we need to do we can do from any where in the world by using our laptop! my how times have changed. we pay cleaners,local gardeners to take care of gardens, we have a pool man, we have a car that is insured here and serviced regularly at a local garage in George town,pay our utilities, we go to the supermarkets once or twice a week, eat out regularly at the lovely restaurants here in cayman, have friends and family over to come and visit, so all this money goes straight into the local economy which we presume is good and we enjoy doing. the only problem we have is that after getting off a 11 hour flight from the UK we are made to feel like naughty school children sitting out side the headmasters office as we approach the immigration officers wondering if we are going to be allowed to stay 90 days or not, armed with a bank statement to show that my wife and I have funds to support our time here and a copy of my land registry paper showing we have a house here all paid for we are quickly stamped 30 days and asked to move on when I try and to show my paper work the officer tells me I must go immigration to sort it out, some of the officers can be quite rude to say the least where offers are very nice indeed. and these people are the 1st point of contact for visitors to the cayman islands(1st impressions can last a long time), so after my 30 days we go to the immigration office take a ticket and wait to see a officer to ask if we can stay longer, we get to speak to very helpful officer who once sees we have funds to support ourselves gives us an extension but tells us that we must leave on or before the date given. so on or before that date we will leave cayman for a bit and spend our money in restaurants etc elsewhere (if the economy is hurting so much here why would you want people who are putting money in to the local economy to leave?). so we thank them and get on our way.
    the point I want to make is that if im allowed to purchase a expensive home here in cayman I obviously want to spend time in it. my wife and I are in our 30’s so we are not ready to retire or do we want to pay a ridiculous sum to become a resident,so what if there was a system of where if somebody was to purchase a home for say 1 million dollars or more they would be given some sort of owners pass so they could stay in cayman for long periods if they wished but were Not allowed to work,this would im sure attract wealthy individuals to spend more time in cayman which in turn would have a impact straight into the local economy. I think that would be great for the real estate market too! = more stamp duty revenue for government. its a little scary spending millions of dollars on a house to be told you must leave the island.

    cayman really is a beautiful place but you really do not get to see how special it is until you spend time here and get to know the local people.

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