Work permit numbers plummet further

15 per cent fewer foreign workers than 18 months ago

The
number of foreign workers in the Cayman Islands has continuously declined from
its highest level 18 months ago. Overall there are currently almost 4,000 fewer
work permits active than in November 2008. 

The
decline in work permit numbers accelerated during the height of Cayman’s
tourist season, when there are traditionally many foreign hospitality workers
here. In early May a total of 22,673 expatriates were employed on work permits
or government contracts. This number represents a drop of 1.9 per cent since
March 2010 when total figure was 432 work permits higher.

Since
November 2008 the expatriate workforce has decreased by 15 per cent. The new
statistics, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, do not bode well
for the summer months when many private sector and government contracts are up
for renewal.

Despite
the 4,000 fewer expatriate workers, unemployment among Caymanians remains high
according to the government.  Government
revenue from work permits is down and thousands of expatriate workers, who had
to leave the islands, often with their families, are likely to have had a
significant impact on how much money is spent in the local economy. The work
permit numbers do not include permanent residents or spouses of Caymanians who
have obtained the right to work under law.

Compared
to 18 months ago the number of Jamaican work permits holders declined
disproportionately by just over 2,500 or 21.6 per cent. At the same time the
Honduran work force declined by 22 per cent to just under 900 permit holders.
The drop reflects the reduction of workers in the construction industry, which
cut 15 per cent of its workforce in 2009 alone.

The
number of Philippino expatriate workers, in contrast, remained comparatively
steady over the past 18 months, falling by only 5.9 per cent to 2,727.
Meanwhile there are now between 10 and 12 per cent fewer UK, US and Canadian
nationals employed in Cayman.

Not
all types of work permits are affected equally by the decline. Work permits
renewals, for workers that have been on at least a one-year work permit, hardly
changed during the past two months, but the number of 10,715 is actually higher
than 18 months ago.

The
decline largely occurred among full-year work permit grants which dropped from
nearly 7,600 in November ’08 and 6,670 in March ‘10 to currently 6,412. Fewer
applications for new full-year permits is illustrative of an economy that
continues to slow.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. And you say you don’t need expats. Look what happens when they leave. Caymanians still unemployed and economy is a mess because expats aren’t here to spend and put back into the economy – what’s your excuse now?

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  2. Talk about the government shooting themselves in the foot.

    In a desparate attempt to dig themselves out of a finacial mess they decide to bite the hand that feeds them.

    With an ugly balance sheet, McKeeva decides not to cut government expenses but to increase revenue by penalizing expats by increasing work permits. So the inevitable happens, the expats leave, companies leave and the balance sheet at the end of 2010 will be way uglier…. and to compound this further it the fact that it is irreverasble… once these companies leave, they are not coming back. With all these new see thru treaties Cayman is signing to be on the OECD whitelist, Cayman will be a tax haven without any "no tax" benefits.

    Cayman will soon be back to the old ages…. tourism will be the only true source of income.

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  3. I did not know our economy was in a mess.. But’ It seems that some foreign Nationals cant wait for it to fail though.. These same cry wolf folks left their country with its booming economy to come lend Cayman a hand; That is so nice!. If Cayman is going through a correction, it is a needed one.. Please don’t mix up immigration policies with economic strength; or the one that is being fed.

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  4. It is obvious that there is a direct connection between Immigration and the economy in Grand Cayman. People say they want the companies here to grow yet they want to limit the number of expats that are employed by them. They seem to have one foot on the gas and one foot on the break. If Caymanians were able to compete for the jobs then they would. There is a large financial inducement to hire Caymanians. But many are handicapped because they lack the relevant education to compete and there aren’t enough Caymanians with the right qualifications to fill the employment requirements of the companies.

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