Caymanian-only jobs, immigration changes

    McKeeva Bush Cayman Islands 300x250

    Cayman Islands lawmakers anticipate a proposal for major immigration reform as well as the passage of a plan to create the country’s first Caymanian-only job designations within the next six months.  

    Premier McKeeva Bush told a group of about 250 George Town residents Tuesday night he hoped the new immigration policy would be formulated by April, following discussions between private sector and government entities.  

    Meanwhile, George Town MLA Ellio Solomon told the largely pro-United Democratic Party crowd at the Mary Miller Hall an amendment bill allowing Cabinet members to designate certain jobs as Caymanian-only was expected to come before the legislature in November. Mr. Solomon moved a private members’ motion in the Legislative Assembly calling for the creation of Caymanian-only positions more than a year ago.  

    For the moment, lawmakers have approved new permits for foreign-born workers that can allow them to stay up to two years beyond the normal seven-year term limit. Those extensions exempting the worker from the seven-year limit on residence are temporary and will not count toward time spent in Cayman for anyone making an application for permanent residence.  

    Mr. Bush told the crowd it was possible a committee reviewing immigration changes could decide to get rid of the current term limit regime entirely, but he said other protections for Caymanians workers would still be needed.  

    “I am advised by many people that there has to be something in place … to protect our people,” Mr. Bush said. “It may be that we will have to look at this by occupation and not as we have done by key employee status alone.”  

    Currently, key employee status designations are the only way a non-Caymanian worker who has no local ties can stay in the country beyond the seven-year time limit. However, Mr. Bush and other lawmakers have recently said that system is flawed and must be changed.  

    One change Premier Bush said he’ll push for during the review process is a greater scope for administrative approval of work permits for foreign-born employees. The Immigration Department has the ability to do that now for certain noncontroversial work permit grants where no Caymanian has applied for a job. However, Mr. Bush said he’d like to see the administrative approval ability expanded to other types of permits.  

    “That would mean less work and less reliance on [appointed] boards,” Mr. Bush said, echoing a sentiment expressed years ago by then-Chief Immigration Officer and soon-to-be Deputy Governor Franz Manderson.  

    “This would bring about modern immigration reform where a efficient and more certain regime would prevail,” he said.  

    “This is what the international business community is looking. 

    “It won’t be ‘oh, I don’t like him and he no good’. Business can’t operate that way, and it is time for us as a country to recognise that.”  


    Caymanian only   

    Mr. Solomon said he had received assurances a new piece of legislation allowing for certain jobs to be designated for Caymanians only would be brought forward at the next meeting of the Legislative Assembly, set for next month.  

    According to Mr. Solomon, the amendment will contain a schedule that would give Cabinet members the “option in the future” to add jobs that would belong to Caymanians only.  

    Cayman Islands Immigration Law now requires qualified Caymanians to be considered first for any and all jobs before work permits are issued for foreigners.  

    However, there are only a few positions currently designated as Caymanian-only. 

    “Every elected member in this country right now must be a Caymanian,” Mr. Solomon said. “The deputy governor must be a Caymanian.”  

    Mr. Solomon said the intent of his original motion concerning Caymanian-only was to ensure local citizens are “calling the shots” in key positions.  

    “There has to be certain positions in our country that belong to our country; whether it’s chief immigration officer, whether it’s within the police,” he said.  

    “It is a matter of who it is that’s calling the shots, and Caymanians must be in the position where they are calling the shots.” 

    McKeeva Bush Cayman Islands

    Premier McKeeva Bush speaks to hundreds of people during Tuesday’s meeting at Mary Miller Hall. – Photo: Brent Fuller


    1. How about we start with the truth. It is impossible to write an immigration policy to support business growth and it is unnecessary to attempt immigration reform to protect performing caymanians in the work place. The labor law is sufficient. We all need to stop making excuses for nonperforming Caymanians and expats in the work place. no country has managed the perfect immigration policy, business growth does that and we would be better off restructuring CIDB and other agencies to support entrepreneurship development including educational programs at UCCI and ICCI for small business owners rather than waste more time and money on MORE immigration reform. I suspect that the majority of the Caymanians seeking an immigration remedy to their problems will be unhappy regardless because what their doing is not what they really want to do or the culture of the business is causing their unhappiness and immigration reform will not help that. Take a look at organizations with all Caymanians at the executive level and highly talented Caymanians at the manager level, these Managers are even more frustrated as they cannot use Immigration as a reason or tool for further career success. Solution? Encourage more migrants to come, grow the economy and all businesses, commence the projects on the table and expand the career opportunities for all. Remove immigration from the discussion. I guarantee you Mr. Bush, Performing Caymanians do not need immigration protection and to continue this pursuit of the impossible is becoming more insulting to Caymanians than it’s providing protection. You cannot legislate a good reason not to get an education and have a high performing work attitude with immigration policy.

    2. Joey,
      Hope you’re not the one running for office in 2009.
      You just shot yourself in the foot!

      You are really not an advocate for Caymanians.
      It’s so funny, people coming to this country need to know that they need to go TO THE BACK OF THE LINE!

      Wait your turn. that’s how it is around the world!
      This is A country for Caymanians they are in front of the line, they were here before you, this x-pat idea that they have some kind of entitlement to push Caymanians aside so they can get IN FRONT OF THE LINE
      is a problem that must be resolved by telling people who is in charge here:
      It’s us

    3. Well Dubai, good luck with that. I would rather loose an election with the truth, and seeking to prepare a future for the highly talented young Caymanians than to pander to bigots, Both expat and local bigots, and cause the demise of the next generation. The problem you have identified cannot be resolved with immigration reform, but, don’t take my word for it, we have been trying for 50 years now and several million dollars, with all that investment, why give in now?!
      The biggest problem with democracy today is the willingness of political leaders to pander to ignorance rather than enlighten. Why? Need for votes, succumbing to the sort of threats you attempted here with me! So, my response? Don’t vote for me if you expect me once elected to create radical immigration reform that will adversely affect the economy. I will not. Vote for the other guy. Don’t vote for me if you expect me to become a part of the Us vs Them bigotry. I will not. Vote for the other guy. That’s democracy and I love it! It allows the majority to obtain the political leadership it desires!
      If you truly want a solution to the issues that Immigration reform is claiming to resolve, take a look at Mr. Rolston’s labor plan. The answer is there. No, it does not include playing that silly little game of Us vs Them.

    4. Joey

      I have no idea who you are but suffice it to say you are spot on. Bubai, same goes for you in that I dont know you either. But it seems as you have been tarred with the same brush as you usually are.

      Solutions are in the actions of people. There is no such thing as a right of entitlement. Being Caymanian is a right to be chosen first when there are two equally qualified people applying for the job. Putting someone in a job with the mind set of entitlement will lead you in a great big circle to nowhere.

      So move forward and encourage Caymanians to do what they should and earn the job.

    5. There are already many Caymanian only jobs. Like condo management and taxi drivers.

      Modern Cayman has two main sources of income. Tourism and financial services.

      Tourism produces many jobs: waiters, hotel maids, cooks, dive masters, gardeners, construction.
      But these are jobs that many Caymanians do not want.
      So one needs to either import workers for this industry or close it down.

      Financial services provides many good, clean, well paid jobs. But many require a high skill level. There is a lack of educational opportunities in Cayman to allow people to qualify for some of these jobs.

      In the long term, there must be better education to allow Caymanians to train as accountants, attorneys, hedge fund managers, legal secretaries etc.

      But in the short term we either need to import the people who can do these jobs or let these industries wither.
      Just read the international press to seem how many governments would like to close down Cayman altogether. This is not a time to shoot this industry in the foot.

      We also need to develop education for careers like: plumbers, electricians, hair dressers, carpenters. In the short term could the government help by paying for young Caymanians to learn these skills overseas and then return?

    6. Native born Caymanians who can trace their ancestry well over 250 years (like my grandmother) who are hard working educated like many young Caymanians that I know of who are studying very hard to achieve success in their own country by RIGHT have the the 1st pick.They will never need to be rolled over nor apply for key status because they already are key by birth right!!! there are many high school graduates who will not be denied whats rightfully theirs after seeking and attaining higher education bottom line is we Caymanians cannot really do not want to go to most of the over one hundred different countries represented here to work because most of those countries are in dire straits.most expats are sending back to their loved ones so they can have somewhat of a decent life I hear them speaking of this all the tme this is all Caymanians want in their own country!!!.
      revolution will come to these islands Caymanians will not lose out!!
      by the way i was born state side my father is 100% Caymanian let me tell you this there is no way that most of what expats openly talk about here like the have more rights than Caymanians would never happen in the USA
      no worries Bo Bo Caymanians aint going no where we are here to stay work hard prosper

    7. @indigenous
      If you were born in the USA you automatically are a US citizen. You have the right to vote there. You can get any job there that any American born of American parents and grand-parents can get.

      You don’t need to buy a house there, live there for 8 years and then hope you are allowed to stay.

      In fact it would be illegal to discriminate against you just because you were born in the USA of foreign parents.

      Something you happily demand for Cayman.

      (You also have the obligation to pay USA taxes on any income you earn in Cayman or anywhere else, sorry.)

      Your situation is of course unlike any child born in Cayman of foreign parents, children who most certainly do NOT have those rights so freely given to you by the USA.

    8. There is nothing wrong with having some jobs as Caymanian only as long as there is a supply of Caymanians willing to these jobs and secondly who are educated or already holding the experience to undertake the work to the required standards.

      With 55% of this years publicly educated young people not obtaining 5 IGCSE then the first selection of Caymanian only job should be entry grade vocational posts, which are in fact training posts for example mason helper or carpenter helper. These posts would then be filled with school leavers and would obtain on the job training that could be supplemented by Caymans already existing trade school for the last 40 years, UCCI. These posts would lead to skilled Caymanians taking up journeyman posts to replace the current expat tradesmen over time.

      UCCI has been running trade courses for many years in construction technology, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, motor mechanicals and numerous other courses. These courses should be packed with young people wanting to learn career skills to improve the chances for a job. Last year only 8 people took the construction technology course – this number should 30-60 young people each and every year.

      We cannot have a country that expects everyone to have a job by right. There is no country in the free World like this. The world does not owe anybody a living; everyone has to earn that chance for a job and then fulfil the terms of their employment contract to keep that job.

      90% of the local businesses are majority Caymanian owned and has majority Caymanian directors; So the question is why are local Caymanian businessmen importing labour instead of employing Caymanian labour. Well the answer is actual they are otherwise local unemployment would be much higher.

      The next point to make is that there are not that many of Caymanians, who are very well educated and have the skill set needed but the ones who do have these skills can and do complete with the best of the best in a global market.

      These people are extremely hard working and run several of the international firms here and overseas and it is these people who be looked up to as fine examples of Caymanians, that no matter what your background was that Cayman has the opportunities to succeed if you want to.

      Cayman has long had a tradition of hard working people, who went to sea and continued to earn that reputation – so what happened !! Expats did not just arrive they were recruited to come here by local Caymanian owned business- Why!

      It’s a gray squishy mass housed inside the bone-dome, something with immeasurable potential! Everything Caymanians use and enjoy, on a daily basis, is a result of what the mind can imagine. The world is filled with miraculous inventions/ideas/goals that come from the human mind.
      I’ve read the Compass for many years; read articles that made me smile and others that left me shaking my head. The more of the current news I read, the less I’m smiling and more I’m shaking my head.
      What’s in the headline every day?
      High cost of living
      Lack of employment
      Too much or too little foreign investment
      Too many or too few Expats.
      The list goes on. There are more points of contention than people on the islands.
      It’s time to stop the whining! Let’s wake up and clean our own house!
      Let’s look at the big picture: the three little rocks we’re living on. They’re not going to get any bigger, so let’s utilize what we have.Caymanians. There’s a goldmine of minds out there; let’s harvest what we have. Let’s encourage, educate, nurture, and stimulate both young and old.
      The Cayman Islands are a small village, compared to the global picture, and we should treat each other as such. We’re just a bunch of people on a few small pieces of dirt surrounded by endless water. Ultimately, we have to depend upon each other and live with each other and enrich each other.
      Government should spend more money on developing people than on questionable ventures. Investing in the people will result in more internal/external business, growth and prosperity to the island.
      Self reliance and pride in oneself should be the Caymanian goal, not dependency on others.
      Summary: As you sow, so shall you reap.
      Meaning: Your deeds or intentions, good or bad, will repay you in kind.

    10. I think that basically what Caymanians need and want are leaders they can trust. What we don’t need is politicians who use the public purse or their portfolio as their own piggy bank.

      We can debate the jobs, pension, and immigration after we have succeeded in securing honest representatives,
      but to hold a public or forum debate on advocating jobs for x-pats while we bash our own Caymanians is futile. People are looking for honesty and integrity,
      We find those characteristics in in the person of Mr. Ezzard Miller.

      Have a good day.

    11. Dubai, Well I finally think I get you, you have certainly made your feelings clear about Expats and what’s needed to get Caymanians back on track, I’m curious if this is the same feelings that most Caymanians have.

      You’ve told us all what you think of expats, I’d like to what you think of residents that do not work or Foreigners that just come to the island a lot because they like it there, and what about tourists.

      I just want to make sure I have the complete picture of Dubai.

    12. Surely with the new extended permits it takes people over the 8 year limit and the right to stay no matter what tempory status these permits are given. Good. More people to disagree with Dubai, as if more are needed. Dubai, where did you learn your intense jealousy of people with a higher level of skill and education? Do you honestly believe you speak for the ordinary Caymanian citizen? Stop taking the pills, get off the couch and go get a job.

    13. Dubai you can’t possibly believe the stuff you post, i find it hard to accept anyone with an IQ over 80 would write such nonsense.

      You really have failed to grasp the problems facing Cayman and how they need to be addressed.

    14. Here is what they have: A platform that is in the warm Caribbean beautiful and clean.. Tax free with excellent Telecommunications, dependable Electricity, favorable housing, friendly gull able natives and a Government that will bend-over backwards to please.. An active lobby called Chamber of Commerce and owerwatch by an Internal External Affairs Department with no teeth.. While we make it affordable for them to operate their profit making model, their books are in the black and our books remain in the red.

      Dubai: Crumbs don’t trickle down excrement do.

    15. Okay…so lets get this straight.

      There are people on this island that think, if there are no expats, or the expats are rolled, Caymanians will get the jobs.

      Well have we not just rolled 6k to 10k expats in the last 3 years. And isn’t cayman and those Caymanians facing the highest unemployment ever.

      By some of these posters thinking. There should be absolutely no unemployed Caymanians by now. Right?!

      6 to 10 k leave. Why aren’t those Caymanians being hired?

      You will also notice those who think this way, are going to suddenly be silent with my questioning. Because then reality might creep into their heads.

      Gee. Maybe we need to call in some rocket scientists to sit around those domino tables and explain how obvious this is.

      Expats create jobs for Caymanians.
      If you roll the expats, the companies go with them.

      So, what else does this tell you, about the general labor pool’s competency? hmmmmmm.If entire companies would rather pull out from the island, than have to hire locally. Do you think business’s care about one’s nationality. Well, they don’t. They care about the quality of work and the workers that do the job. That’s it, that’s all.

      shhhhh….I hear crickets.

    16. Big Berd, I think you have it wrong what it seems is that folks think companies should be forced to hire any Caymanian that comes through the door weather they are qualified or not. Is seems that the general consensus is that it’s the responsibility of all companies to train people and supply them with great careers and there’s no responsibility for individuals to better themselves or go out work hard and get training or a continued education to better themselves.

      So it’s not that folks think they will get the jobs, it’s that they think they should get the jobs or as I quote quite a bit of folks saying that they are entitled to these jobs because of a birthright. There a plenty of Caymanians with great jobs in high places, I wonder if they got there only because of a birthright.

    17. to nj2cay
      we are protectecting a birthright!!
      every single CAYMNIAN has a BIRTHRIGHT to be giving a chance at succeeding or failing on a job CAYMANIANS have a BIRTHRIGHT to be giving 1st chance at being trained before ANY expat
      there are plently of CAYMANIN students who are willing / able committed to getting educated / trained who will not be denied any opportunity in thier OWN COUNTRY to do so
      have you ever heard the word REVOLUTION ?
      Soon come BO BO!!!

    Comments are closed.