Online poll: Most want rollover policy ended

Less than 12 per cent of the respondents to last week’s online poll believe Cayman’s seven-year term limit on most foreign workers – often referred to the rollover policy – should remain the way it is with no changes.  

Implemented in January 2004, the rollover policy has remained controversial since inception. Last June, a government-appointed immigration review team recommended several significant changes to the law, including lengthening the term limit from seven to 10 years, with all foreign workers who wanted to having the ability to apply for permanent residence during their eighth year of residence. The outcome of those applications would be determined by a points system. 

Of the 655 respondents, the largest segment of them – 323 people or 49.3 per cent – said the rollover policy should be eliminated entirely because it had utterly failed.  

“Rollover has played a huge part in destroying the Cayman economy,” said one person. “It is discriminatory, inhumane and only serves to encourage expat workers to send their money off-island. Get rid of it.” 

“Good people who would have been an asset and contributed to the country left and those just here for their own financial gain remained,” said someone else. 

“It has not helped to increase more Caymanians getting jobs,” said another respondent. 

“Perhaps there was a time a few years ago when this was necessary and a good policy, but those days are gone,” commented one person. “There are no longer lines overflowing with people wishing to come to Cayman. All you have to do is look at the numbers. The economy in Cayman is reliant on immigrant labour and needs as many of these people to remain as long as possible.” 

One respondent thought the rollover policy had utterly failed because it was not stringent enough. 

“Let them work for five years, send their money home and go home,” said one person. “What will happen to our young Caymanians returning from university and they can’t get any [jobs]. Cayman is not for Caymanians anymore.” 

Another large segment of respondents – 149 people or 22.7 per cent – thought the rollover should be maintained, but extended to 10 years, with everyone having an opportunity to apply for permanent residence, as recommended by the immigration review team. 

“We can’t let everyone stay forever, but there needs to be a fair path to citizenship for those who qualify and want to stay,” said one person. 

“The average length of stay for a foreigner is less than five years, so the number of people who stay long enough and who will qualify for PR will not be as high as people might think,” said someone else. 

Another 100 people – 15.3 per cent – thought the rollover policy should be eliminated, but the path to citizenship should be as well. 

“Enough of letting everyone come and get status,” said one person. “Where are we Caymanians going to end up?” 

“The Cayman Islands is over populated,” said someone else. “Foreigners are destroying Caymanian resources and culture. Please eliminate the path to citizenship. Save the Cayman Islands cultures and people.”  

“I feel that ever since rollover came into effect the economy has sustained great damage due to the fact that no one wants to spend here any longer knowing that they have limited time here,” said another person. “So therefore people are forced to save and send home every dime they make. So yes, I think it is time Cayman wakes up and [does] away with this rollover nonsense.” 

“Let a person work here as long he is contributing to the society and there is no suitable Caymanian for the job,” said someone else. “Take out the citizenship for now and just grant permanent residence.” 

Only 76 people – 11.6 per cent – thought the rollover shouldn’t be eliminated and should remain the way it is. 

“The rollover is in place to help manage the growth of Cayman’s population,” said one person. “Our infrastructure costs are already leading to our government struggling to balance the budget. How will we cope with uncontrolled growth?” 

“Change it – even just extend it – and we’ll end up with mass status grants again,” said someone else. “Of course, if that’s what you want …” 

Seven people – 1.1 per cent – responded “other” to the question. 

“It should be a four-year probation period,” said one person. “Then three additional years can be applied for based on job performance, community service and five reference letters. It should not be an easy process!” 

“Reduce the term limit to five years,” said someone else. 

“Let foreigners stay for as long as they have a job and send them home when they do not,” said another person. 

“The exclusion period should be extended and key employee status eliminated, but allow all who wish to apply for permanent residency,” said someone else. 

“There has to be term limits set some way, some how,” commented on person. “The island can only support so many people and no more.” 

“I do not support eliminating Cayman’s ‘rollover’ policy entirely, however I do not think that expats should be granted PR,” said another person. “However it is a different issue if they are married to a Caymanian or have Caymanian ties.” 


Next week’s poll question 

What grade would you give the new minority government for the first 60 days of its administration? 






Other (write in comments) 

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  1. Those who want the roll over policy ended is foreigners. Cannot really blame them however, I would like to know how it will be handled if this comes to pass. I smell problems between foreigners and Caymanians. I truly believe that persons who come here and have no intentions of making Cayman their home, should go home when their time is up, Why stay on and not give another foreigner an opportunity of comming on board and making a few bucks too. I think it is very selfish of the foreigner who does not want to leave when his time is up. Give others a chance. Some has to die that some may live.

  2. So Hunter, you invest so much time and money in Cayman’s economy, buying house, buying car to get around, falling in love with someone, integrating in Cayman’s community, becoming skilled in business, and youre saying to the foreignor – you should just give this up???

    You fail to see the reality of the situation. If you want fairness, you have to be fair to foreignors too.

  3. Hunter, Although I don’t usually seem to agree with your comments. I do agree with you on this. I personally think that only people who intend to make a home in Cayman and set down roots should be allowed to come and work there for an extended amount of time and they should be given a certain amount of time to prove this.

    The one thing that I don’t understand is why it’s so hard for someone who wants to make a home in Cayman that has no need for a job. Such as retires and people of independent means. Immigration only considers you independent if you are a millionaire. But if you fall just shy of that you are treated as Burdon as if you’re taking something from Cayman, while the only thing you do is spend money locally. I personally know about this, I may not be a millionaire but I do not need to work in Cayman nor have I ever. I have local Bank accounts, own property in Cayman and do all my shopping locally yet I get kicked out after six months. Things like this as well as the rollover discourage people from investing and setting down roots in Cayman.

  4. Sir Turtle, you see this is where you show selfishnes. Number one, give me a good reason WHY, would you want to come here on a work permit and invest so much time and money in the Cayman Economy in the first place. This is not your country, you are here to do a job and leave. Someone else is waiting to make a few bucks too.
    Now on the other hand you speak about falling in love and becomming skilled in business(remember you said becomming skilled in business) not I was skilled in business before I came here !!
    If you are among the number one’s who have fallen in love, become skilled in business, invested your money and time. Then Sir Turtle you need to come out of the swamp. Because having said all of this, why would you have taken the time to comment on my post. It is simple, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. It is either you are on the side of your love, your business and your invested money, or get back in the swamp Sir Turtle..

  5. NJ2Cay 10:27 am I do understand your views. But what I am really trying to get across is this. If foreigners come to Cayman and has no intention of making this their home, investing and spending money and I cannot leave out taking off their shoes and walking in the sand, enjoying conch fritters and fish tea, then what is the real purpose of being here.
    On the other hand those who come here for no good reasons should leave when their time is up and let someone who really wants a chance come. NJ2 Cay. You really have to live on other Islands to appreciate this one. The Cayman people are passive people, and they do not pretend to be your friend for monetary gain. Try living some other Caribbean Island, Eastern or Western, and after one year you would want to swim back to Cayman and leave all your belongings. Of course by your comment I suspect you are not from here, and I would say Take your shoes off and enjoy the sand, the conch fritters and the fish tea. We only have one life to live.

  6. Hunter, I get where you are coming from. I am from New Jersey but have spent the last 10 Years going between Cayman and the US. And you are right Caymanians for the most part are friendly people but everyplace has their bad apples. I for one would love to call Cayman home if I were allowed to but the fact remains that I can be tossed out or not allowed to return on the whim of an immigration officer in a bad mood. For those that call it a temporary means to get paid then it should just be that a temporary thing as you said. The problem is that a lot of people stereo type foreigners as greedy conniving people who are looking to rob Cayman of it riches, when there are actually people who appreciate what Cayman has to offer when it comes to a peaceful quality lifestyle. I for one can understand why someone would want to call it home. But there is a lot of hostility toward foreigners who own property and spend a lot of time there just trying to enjoy life..I don’t see how this is taking anything away from Caymanians. I may be able to understand the Caymanian against Expat complaints when it comes to Jobs, but I don’t understand the issue with those who do not hold jobs in Cayman. I have had quite a bit a negative comments made towards me just for buying property there as if I did something wrong..

  7. Hunter, you are being unrealistic! People just don’t come here to do a job and leave… get real! People come here to live as well. If you said to me that you have decided to move to the United States to find new employment, do you think for a ounce that I would assume you are going there to do a mere job and leave? Lol… please.. your reasoning and the way you see foriegnors is slanted.

    As for people falling in love, you seem to not know what it is to fall in love with someone. Under the rollover policy, you would have to leave that person for one year, and this is a major reason why you have people forced into marriages of convenience.

    Btw, I am a born Caymanian. And it is traditionalists like yourself that cant seem to understand the implications of this policy. You seem to be slanted in your thinking and views regarding expats. You make my home look like its an island to itself, saying that these people should just come here to do a job and then leave! It is you who sound selfish, Hunter. Cayman is not an isolated island for Caymanians only, Hunter. Think of it – If that was so we would be a terrible mess.

  8. NJ2Cay It seems like we got a conversation going on here, but there are things about the Island and its people that you may not know. First of all many instances we have foreign people making comments anonymous, which are making other foreign people think they are Caymanians when it is not. I am very surprised by you saying that you have had negative comments made towards you for just buying property. No Caymanian sets upon a foreigner for buying property here, but I can assure you that if a Caymanian is used to going to the beach through an old track for many years and then a foreigner comes along and say you cannot use the track anymore to get to the beach, or do not walk on this beach, you will be greeted with hostility. Its called getting along. Do you think that all Caymanians are against Dart. No there are only a hand full, and these negative outburst against Dart was, is and will always be fueled by foreigners who made it here and now setting the Caymanians up to do this. I cannot say anything bad about the foundation, but I can say bad things about those other Hotels who have been here for years and ran the natives from their beaches or walking the old path to the beach.
    My suggestion to you is this find some real Caymanian friends, come out of your foreign circle some times and get to know the real Caymanians. Do not be afraid, just be selective and you will be amaized at the welcome. To love us is to know us. Be careful about following some of the comments made on these web sites, most of them are foreigners who sit and enjoy what they do. Spend more time at local restaurants and churches, join heritage committees Natural cultural foundations, museum and other local orginazations, mix with good Caymanians and watch how you will feel different in a few months.I wish you many happy years here.

  9. Hunter, I actually know quite bit of Caymanians that are really wonderful loving people but as far as a foreign circle I don’t think so, my circle consists of me and my wife. I do have to say that the negative comments I’ve head are for the most part from people posting things on the compass. By the way I do eat at a lot of local restaurants , but I also like some of the foreign ones, I just eat what I like, we tend to like a lot of different types of foods from Caymanian like Vivians to Mexican like Carlos and Martin. But for the most part I like to catch it a grill it..

    I find it surprising to hear you say that only a hand full of Caymanians are against Dart, but I can actually believe it. I personally think that most of the issues people fight over are fueled by political agenda but that’s another conversation.

    By the way thanks for taking the time out to explain your point of view, I believe I understand you better now..