According to a policy set down by
Cayman’s immigration boards, non-Caymanian permanent residents are not allowed
to employ domestic helpers from Jamaica.
The largely unknown measure – which
is not a part of the country’s Immigration Law – was revealed during
a Tuesday meeting of the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee. Opposition
MLA Arden McLean questioned whether this was in fact the boards’ policy.
“As far back as 10 years ago there is a policy that restricts
the employment of nannies and helpers from Jamaica to Caymanians,” said
Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs Chief Officer Franz Manderson,
clarifying later that only Caymanians could employ helpers of Jamaican nationality.
Permanent residents, foreigners who have been given the right to
live in Cayman for the rest of their lives, can only become naturalised
Caymanians after a process that typically takes 15 years overall.
However, Mr. McLean questioned why such a policy existed, since most
permanent residents will have the chance to eventually become Caymanian if they
remain in the Islands long enough.
“In effect, we have integrated
a permanent resident into society as by all accounts…that person is going to
be Caymanian,” Mr. McLean said. “That person is part of us now. Why
does that policy have to remain?”
Moreover, Mr. McLean said he was concerned that an immigration board
policy was apparently taking the governance issues away from lawmakers the
“It should be their policy how
they operate the board, but not how we operate the country,” he said.
Back bench MLA Cline Glidden, Jr. said this policy could put Cayman
in big trouble when the country’s first Bill of Rights comes into effect in
“From a human rights
standpoint, we would have to be getting into borderline discrimination,”
Mr. Glidden said. “That’s pretty blatant discrimination.”
You can read more about this story in Friday’s Caymanian Compass