In many countries the attitudes toward foreign direct investment have changed over the past years, in particular after the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008. The liberalisation of policies to attract foreign investment has also been a strategy in Cayman, in the expectation that investment projects will create jobs and business will trickle down to local companies. In addition to a short-term relief to the local construction industry in terms of duty concessions and fee deferrals, which expired recently, foreign investment projects can be granted fiscal and immigration incentives.
The Department of Commerce and Investment, in conjunction with the National Investment Council, makes recommendations on the level of fiscal incentives that can be granted to inward investment projects, depending on the economic benefit of the proposed investment. These proposals are evaluated on a case by case basis.
As Cayman has no corporation tax, financial incentives for the investment projects apply to the following areas: the reduction or waiver of business licences and fees for a specified period
» the reduction or waiver of stamp duty on office rental space for a specified period
» the reduction or waiver of import duty on materials for tourism development
» the reduction or waiver of import duty on materials for local high value projects
» production rebates and the reduction or waiver of import duty for film projects.
Special rules apply to the financial services sector for which certain immigration rules can be relaxed. These include:
» expedited turnaround for processing all work permits
» access to two consecutive three to five year work permits for accredited professional staff potentially enabling them to live and work in Cayman for up to nine years
» key employee designation for senior staff and
» expedited processing periods for time sensitive applications to Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.
» General Sister Islands incentives
» To promote economic activity in the Sister Islands different concessions can be obtained for investments there:
» Up to 75 per cent reduction on work permit fees for staff located in the Sister Islands
» 50 per cent reduction on trade & business licence fees for businesses located in the Sister Islands
» 100 per cent concessions on building materials.
» Certificate of direct investment
» Wealthy individual investors have the ability to obtain a 25 year residency, when making substantial investments in Cayman.
In this context a certificate of direct investment can be issued to individuals with a personal net worth of at least CI$6 million (approximately US$7.15m), who have made or will make, an investment of at least CI$2.4 million (approximately US $2.86m) in any licensed, employment-generating business or businesses in the Cayman Islands.
The certificate, issued by the chief immigration officer, allows the holder to reside in the Cayman Islands permanently with their families and to work in the business in which they have invested for up to 25 years.
The certificate is renewable or extendable at the end of this period. The fee for the certificate of direct investment is $20,000 and the holder must also pay an annual fee equivalent to the work permit fee equivalent to the job the holder fills in the company.