Editorial for September 24: Caymanians not benefitting

One noteworthy aspect of the exodus
of expatriate workers over the past 19 months is its effect on unemployment of

Even though there are some 5,500
fewer work permit holders now than there were at the beginning of 2009,
Caymanian unemployment hasn’t dropped. In fact, during the course of 2009,
Caymanian unemployment actually increased more than three per cent. This trend
shows the fallacy of the argument, which is made almost daily on the radio talk
shows and blogs, that expatriates on work permits take jobs from Caymanians.

The truth is that expatriates on
work permits and their dependents help Cayman’s economy thrive. When you count
dependents of the 5,500 work permit holders that have left the Cayman Islands,
the drop in population is probably more than 10,000 people. Without the consumer
spending of these people and their families, businesses either fold or lay-off
workers. Hence, there are fewer jobs available in the Cayman Islands for
everyone, including Caymanians.  Since
the vast majority of businesses here are also owned by Caymanians, it is Caymanians
who suffer the most from the contraction of population. In spite of this, many
expatriates continue to be denied work permits on the pretext that there are
qualified Caymanians to fill their positions. In many cases these vacated
positions are just being phased out rather than being filled with a Caymanian.
In the meantime, more hard-working expatriates have taken their talents and
spending elsewhere.


  1. True enough – and when businesses owned by expats along with Caymanians fold up, many Caymanians employed in these businesses also lose their jobs. It is a loss-loss situation all the way around.

Comments are closed.