Show an expat you care with a big hug

Have you hugged an expat today? 
It may sound funny, but the premise behind the idea is a sound one.

Not only do we all need to be kinder to our fellow man, we should be thankful that we have foreigners who are willing to come to our shores to help us grow our economy.

A panel of business and education leaders discussed growing our population and keeping Cayman as an attractive place to invest during a forum titled ‘Things tough! So don’t cut my pay, tax me less and give me more free services…and do something about crime…education…and jobs. And what about those expats?’

It’s a lengthy title, but really hits the nail on the head when it comes to what Caymanians have uppermost on their minds.

Believe it or not, it isn’t the expats who are taking jobs away from Caymanians.

What the Cayman Islands has to do is find a way to create jobs and ensure that Caymanians receive the proper education and training to fill those jobs.

Our educators have to work with businesses that are here to determine their staffing needs and make sure that students are being taught to do those jobs.

Our education system also has to look ahead to the future to teach our children how to successfully interview for jobs and equip them with necessary skills.

Figures show that more than 2,100 people employed here on work permits have left the country. It’s a sure bet that Caymanians didn’t get all those 2,100 jobs that became vacant.

The expats that come to our country to work are here because they have special knowledge through education and training.

When they leave, for whatever reason, there is a domino effect: apartments go unrented or unleased, landlords don’t make money, gardeners don’t get work keeping up those lawns because the landlords can’t afford them, supermarkets don’t sell as many items so they can’t afford to retain all their employees, government doesn’t get duty on the sale of goods because those people who left are no longer here to buy items.

And it goes on.

So while the idea of sporting a T-shirt that says ‘Have you hugged an expat today?’ might be amusing, the concept is worth a try.