10-year rollover recommended

Ability for all to apply for PR also recommended

Cayman’s Term Limit Review Committee has recommended the Cayman Islands do away with key employees, allow all foreign workers the opportunity to apply for permanent residence under the points system, and to extend the length of time to 10 years before those who don’t obtain permanent residence must leave the jurisdiction to establish a break in their stay.

The Review Committee also recommended all foreign government employees be subject to the same rights and restrictions as non-government foreign employees.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, Premier McKeeva Bush tabled the Review Committee’s report and delivered an address on the subject.

“I am pleased to report that the Term Limit Review Committee has concluded their work and has prepared a report containing a number of recommendations on the way forward as it relates to term limits on work permits,” he said. “This is commonly called the rollover policy.”

Although the Review Committee recommended several changes to the current system, it did not recommend the abolishment of the rollover policy and it did not recommend – as some thought it would – a reduction in the amount of time a foreign national who was rolled over would have to leave the jurisdiction to establish a break in stay before he or she could return. The Committee recommended that period of time remain at one year.

Mr. Bush said the Committee recommended the government abolish the current key employee mechanism on the ground that it created “an unsatisfactory an artificial vetting system for long-term residents” that is controlled by employers and unfair to employees.

Under the previous overriding system – which was suspended last September while the Committee conducted its review – most foreign nationals must leave the Cayman Islands after working here for seven years. However, employers can apply for certain foreign nationals to be classified as key employees, which, if successful, allows them the ability to receive nine years of work permits and to apply for permanent residency under the point system after eight years of residence.

The Review Committee recommended allowing every foreign national the ability to apply for permanent residence between their seventh and eight years of residence. Those that don’t apply or who apply and are not successful with their application would be able to remain in the Cayman Islands 10 years, after which they would have to leave the jurisdiction for at least one year before they could return.

Other recommendations from the review committee included:

•    Implementing term limits for Government employees to ensure a level playing field;

•    Implementing the already developed Employer Accreditation System;

•    That the government ensure the Department of Immigration received sufficient funding to attract well-qualified personnel.

Mr. Bush said that the Review Committee also recommended that the a term-limit policy be settled for the long run to provide “certainty and predictability for employer and employee and which avoids the uncertainty of constantly moving goalposts”.

The government has not implemented any of the changes recommended by the Review Committee as of yet.

“Although the Term Limit Review Report has not yet been accepted by Cabinet, Cabinet is desirous of further input and feedback from the public on the recommendations of the Committee so that when it is discussed in Cabinet for acceptance, we would have had the benefit of greater input from the public,” Mr. Bush said.