15 per cent fewer foreign workers than 18 months ago
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.