Key fees cut in half

Other immigration changes take effect


Companies that must pay to have
foreign employees designated as “key” under Cayman’s immigration Law just
caught a break.

As of Tuesday, fees payable for
workers who have been granted key employee designation under the law will be
reduced by half.

The Department of Immigration has
confirmed that lowering the fees for existing or new key employee designates
followed a Cabinet decision on the matter.

Currently, key employee fees are
based on the job category held by the worker and are charged as a one-off fee
in addition to a person’s annual work permit fee.

According to the Immigration
Regulations, 2010, the fee is “based on key employee designates occupation and
the industry and located in which he is employed”.

Designation of key employee status
allows a foreign worker to remain in the Cayman Islands long enough to apply
for permanent residency – the right to stay in Cayman for the rest of their

By itself, the “key” designation
only extends for two years the length of time before a foreign worker must
leave Cayman. Normally, a foreign worker would reach their term limit on
residency after seven years, after which a break in stay of at least one year
would be needed before that person could return to work.

The key employee status allows that
person to remain up to nine years consecutively. At eight years of continuous
residence, foreign workers are allowed to apply for permanent resident status.


Helpers get help

Employers of caregivers who are
long-term employees may now apply for the new Specialist Caregiver certificate.
This document allows those individuals extended and uninterrupted periods of
work time.

Previously, helpers who were
caregivers were subject to the seven-year term limit policy, as are workers in
other categories. In practice, those lower-paid workers were rarely granted
permanent resident status, even if they were allowed to stay eight years.

The recently approved changes to
the Immigration Law allow those who care for the elderly, sick and disabled to
remain indefinitely on five-year work extensions, if they are granted
Specialist Caregiver certificates.  

This newly introduced certification
will allow workers to remain with their employers, provided medical and care
requirements continue.

When applying, employers must
present supporting evidence that the people receiving care are elderly, sick or

Employees must also have worked at
the same job for the applicant at least three years immediately prior to
applying for the caregiver certificate. This could have been as a domestic
helper, nurse, nanny, or in another care-giving capacity.

Applicants for the Specialist
Caregiver certificate will pay an administrative filing fee of $100, as well as
an ’issue fee’ based on the employee’s previous work permit category. This
amounts to whatever the previous work permit fee was, plus $100.

For example, if the employee was
previously employed as a domestic helper the issue fee will be $250 ($150 plus
$100). This fee is payable annually.

Application forms,
along with requirement details and other guidance, will be available at the
Department of Immigration, or on the Department’s website:


Some major changes to immigration rules have taken effect recently.
Photo: Justin Uzzell

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