Cayman Islands Department of Immigration records show the government’s proposal to increase work permit fees will impact businesses in a variety of sectors.
The 10 per cent expatriate tax is off the table and has been replaced by an array of measures, including progressive increases in work permit fees.
In response to an information request from the Caymanian Compass, the Immigration Department provided a list of the 10 private businesses in the Cayman Islands who employ the most work permit holders. The businesses include hoteliers, retailers, law firms and financial services companies.
Cesar Hotelco (Cayman), the company that controls The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, tops the list with 578 employees on work permits, according to the department’s records on business staffing plans. That’s followed by Foster’s Food Fair (332 work permit holders), the Maples group of companies (183), Luxury Hotels – the company behind the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort (165), KPMG (149), Walkers (130), PwC (123), Reliable Industries (120), The Security Centre (118), Kirk Freeport Plaza (105) and Island Companies (105).
The list does not include the number of employees who are Caymanian or permanent residents with the right to work. According to the department, even though companies that submit business staffing plans must include the number of Caymanians, non-Caymanians and permanent residents, the department does not record the number of Caymanians by employer, nor does it track the number of permanent residents by employer.
Island Companies is the only listed business that is part of the Dart Group, which overall would be one of the largest employers of work permit holders.
Each Dart entity (for example, Cayman Distributors, Dart Realty, DECCO, etc.) is recorded in the department’s database separately, and officials were unable to combine all of those separate companies to arrive at a single number of work permit holders for Dart.
The list demonstrates that the Cayman Islands government is by far the largest employer of non-Caymanians. As of 30 June, 2011, core government employed 991 non-Caymanians (and 2,628 Caymanians). Additionally, statutory authorities and government-owned companies employed 542 non-Caymanians (and 1,649 Caymanians). Overall, 1,533 non-Caymanians were employed in the public sector, 26 per cent of the total number of public employees.
Just by itself, the Department of Education employed 292 non-Caymanians (and 437 Caymanians), and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service employed 206 non-Caymanians (and 219 Caymanians), as of 30 June, 2011. The Health Services Authority employed 343 non-Caymanians (and 401 Caymanians).
According to government’s latest proposal, the increases in work permit fees would range from 10 per cent to 35 per cent, with more expensive work permits seeing greater percentage increases. While the department’s list does not break out the categories of work permit holders by business, it stands to reason that law firms and accounting firms, even though they may employ fewer numbers of work permit holders, may end up seeing bigger total increases in their work permit fees than, say, hoteliers and retailers.
For example, the existing work permit fee for a certified accountant is $10,500 and for an attorney is $12,500, both of which would be subject to a 30 per cent increase under the government’s latest proposal – increases of $3,150 per accountant and $3,750 per attorney. Meanwhile, the work permit fee for a food and beverage server is $1,000 and for a retail cashier is $1,000. Those fees would be subject to a 5 per cent increase – $50 per server or cashier.