More than 700 apply to extend stay

Work permits back above 20,000

Local companies have applied on behalf of at least 712 non-Caymanian workers to extend their stay in the Cayman Islands beyond the normal seven-year term limit on residency set forth in the Immigration Law.  

Those applications were made between 28 October and 31 March, according to statistics produced by the Immigration Department.  

The Term Limit Exemption Permit, or TLEP, was created last year in lawmakers’ amendments to the Cayman Islands Immigration Law mainly as a way to stave off the departure of a large number of foreign workers and the perceived economic blow that would carry. Many of those who had come to Cayman just after Hurricane Ivan in 2004 or early 2005 and had reached, or would soon reach, their seven-year limit on residency.  

In fact, immigration officials have tallied some 2,350 workers this year who will reach their seven-year limit on residence – often referred to as the rollover policy – and who will have to leave if they don’t obtain key employee status or permanent resident status.  

The Term Limit Exemption Permit, if granted, will allow a worker to stay a further two years beyond 28 October, 2011 even though their term limit has expired. 

Although, a full count of how each of the 712 applications has fared was not immediately available, immigration officials confirmed a total of 461 exemption permits were approved by either the Work Permit Board, the Business Staffing Plan Board or by the chief immigration officer. Just 21 were refused and 27 others deferred during the period between 28 October and 31 March.  

The vast majority of the exemption permits have been processed internally by the Immigration Department, which reported handling 374 up through March. The Work Permit Board handled another 91 applications and the Business Staffing Plan Board handled 56.  

Term Limit Exemption Permits granted for under-skilled labourers were the most common worker category to be awarded a rollover reprieve, with 259 being awarded exemption permits. Service workers were the next most common worker category granted, with a total of 160 exemption permits given.  

According to amendments to the Immigration Law, remaining in Cayman on a Term Limit Exemption Permit does not count toward continued residence requirements to obtain permanent residence in the Cayman Islands.  


Work permits  

For the first time in more than a year, the number of work permits – including government contract holders and those working in Cayman as an operation of the law – rose above 20,000 people.  

According to immigration records, the number of work permits held in the Cayman Islands went from 18,828 in March 2011 to 20,309 last March, an increase of about 8 per cent.  

Government contract figures for non-Caymanian workers remained virtually unchanged during the first part of this year. Temporary [six-month] work permits also stayed about the same.  

The number of individuals working as an operation of the law – awaiting decisions on permanent residence or appeals of work permit refusals – dropped to below 1,000 people for the first time in more than five years.  

In 2008, there were nearly 3,300 people in Cayman awaiting decisions on their various immigration applications. As of 31 March, 2012, that number had fallen to 902. 


  1. Here we go again, over 700 apply to extend their stay, lets see how eager the Immigration Board is to grant these extensions when there are thousands unemployed in excess of that number in this country and many can do the majority of those jobs. The unfortunate thing is we are so broke that Immigration need to approve these extensions so that some funds can trickle in to the treasury. Caymanians, we are so disenfranchised in our country by our own Caymanians and Expat’s in authority.

  2. well here we go again… I agree with u Inahjoke so will the several hundred Caymanian high school students who are graduating this year the next and the next…
    I know that a lot of people will check the disagree box on are comments but the very fact remains these young Caymanians are willing to work in thier God Giving country will arise take what is rightfully thiers.after all all, those who disagree can will go back to thier countries wether they realize it or to all the ambitious hard working young caymanians who are right now unempolyeed willing to work I will say it but once again, So You Say You Want A Revolution ?!!!

  3. Here we go again with the talk of a Revolution. We have MLA’s recommending people take up arms and get Militant against the current government, citizens calling for a revolution. Before you know I’m sure some people will take these words to heart and do something unfortunate and the blood will be on your hands.

  4. Oy gavalt! Here we go again indeed. The expat bashing begins anew!

    Would either of you two jingoistic xenophobes have any documentation to prove the allgations that many Caymanians can do the majority of those jobs?

    It staggers the imagination how little some people know about the work permit process and how qualified Caymanians ALWAYS receive preference over expatriate workers, as determined by Caymanians serving on the work permit boards.

  5. No offense to the indigenous folks but the rules heavily favor the native Caymanians and if they were applying for the jobs they would get them in preference to the expats. No business is going to lay out the thousands of dollars to get a work permit when a qualified native is available. Speak of revolution all you want but look to Cuba to see how that goes.

  6. So You Say You Want a Revolution ?!!! – yes, because posting comments on a news story will spark a revolution.

    These ‘graduates’ you speak of, would these be the same graduates who ‘graduate’ with no academic basis?

    Any Caymanian with their wits about them will get a job. Many apathetic, witless and lazy ones won’t/ Sure, there will be genuine cases of unemployment, but in many cases a lot of these people will not want to work in places like Burger King or Wendy’s. In fact, for somewhere with the population of a small town, have you seen how many well paid jobs are advertised??? Inahjoke and indigenous, get applying and maybe it will help remove the bitter bile in your systems.

  7. Caymanians need the expats on this island whether they like it or not. Caymanians are too use to easy life they hard work they wont do. certain jobs they dont want. everybody wants high paying jobs that some arent qualified for. what if all expats got up and leave one day??? what would cayman become??

  8. That’s an easy answer. 80% of the jobs that pay well, would leave.

    Because there would not be the qualified staff to staff it.
    And there would not be the population to support it.

    The majority of business’s are now mainly run with computers. A business can pack up, and move their entire info structure over night to another country. And be back in business, 100% up. In 3 days.

    You cannot hold business’s hostage any longer.

  9. it kills me when over 300 applications get denied. thats 300 people not buying food or drink. thats 300 unrented apartments/condos, thats 300 people not buying fuel, 300 less employed workers that make money to go out and boost the economy. Some say that these jobs are for Caymans and that expats take these jobs away from them, but really if an expat and a Caymanian have the same qualifications, why would anyone in their right minds shell out thousands of dollars to hire an expat when then they could hire the Caymanian for free? That would just be bad business. Take the money you make on the work permits and put it back into education for Caymanian’s, because initially isn’t that the original problem, lack of qualifications?

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