We were quite glad to see the level of participation in the
government-appointed rollover review committee on the part of businesses and
residents, Caymanians and non-Caymanians alike.
We also hope this advice will truly be used to inform the
committee and ultimately the government’s position on this issue.
There are several options to be explored:
* Abandoning the current key employee status provisions in
the Immigration Law. The proposal to remove key employee status would mean
anyone who stayed in Cayman continuously on a work permit for at least eight
years would be eligible to apply for permanent residence.
* Reducing the ‘break in stay’ period required for
foreigners forced to leave the Cayman Islands because of the term limit or
rollover policy. Currently, non-Caymanian residents who do not have any
permanent status and reach their seven-year term limit must leave Cayman for at
least one year before they are eligible to apply for another work permit.
* Extending or eliminating the country’s seven-year term
limit policy on residence for foreign workers.
While we doubt that last option – eliminating the rollover –
will ever occur, there are a number of serious proposals that deserve
consideration in this list. It is clear to us at least that the current term
limit policy in the Immigration Law has not worked as it was intended to do. As
we have said many times in other forums, the policy has not served to increase
Caymanian participation in the workforce; quite the opposite. Meanwhile, during
a period of world economic decline, it has not put Cayman in the best possible
position to succeed in opportunities it does receive.
However, that is just our view. There are many others that might
be shared and we want government to take them all into account. Immigration
remains one of the most crucial issues to the future economic prospects and
stability of the Cayman Islands, the country needs to take its time and be sure
before making any further changes to the law.