Cayman Islands immigration-related boards denied grants of Caymanian Status or permanent residence nearly 14 per cent of the time since the start of 2012.
That’s according to figures produced by the Immigration Department through March 2013. The numbers don’t necessarily indicate that grants of residency and status are approved the other 86 per cent of the time, since a number of applications are deferred or delayed for various reasons.
Between January 2012 and March 2013, immigration data show there were 2,537 applications for permanent residence, the right to reside in Cayman for the rest of one’s life, and Caymanian status, the Cayman Islands equivalent of ‘belonger status’ or local citizenship. During the same period a total of 353 of those applications were outright refused.
The highest rate of refusal occurred in the last quarter of 2012, when 131 out of 679 applications were turned down. The lowest rate of refusal happened in the third quarter of 2012, when just nine per cent of those applications were refused.
The latest figures available from the Immigration Department, for January through March, show 459 permanent residence and Caymanian status applications were received. Sixty-five of those applications were refused, while another 54 were delayed.
The total number approved is difficult to determine exactly, because some of the delayed applications may have been heard again in the same quarter and so counted twice. However, even if all 54 were heard twice in the same period, it would appear that more than 275 applications were granted in the one three month period.
There are actually a number of different types of permanent residence and Caymanian status awarded by the immigration boards. The vast majority of those statuses awarded between January and March can be broken down into five categories; residency based on marriage to a Caymanian, residency based on eight-plus years in the Islands, variation of a permanent resident’s status, Caymanian status based on naturalisation and Caymanian status based on marriage.
The type of application most often refused by the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board during the first quarter were residency applications for those who had stayed in Cayman for eight-plus years. Those refusals accounted for 34 per cent of all the applications turned down during the period.
The huge backlog of permanent residence applications that plagued the Cayman Islands in the years following 2004’s Hurricane Ivan now seems to have nearly disappeared.
According to immigration records, in 2007 there were more than 3,500 people working in the country “by operation of the law” – which means they were awaiting decisions on permanent residence applications or on appeals of work permits that had been denied.
By 31 March of this year, less than 600 people were being afforded that status.
The newspaper reported figures on permanent residence grants between September 2008 and November 2011 as well.
The majority of the residence grants between September 2008 and thus far in November 2011 went to spouses of Caymanians (1,558). Those applications are rarely declined, having been approved more than 80 per cent of the time since September 2008.
Applications for permanent residence from foreign individuals who worked in Cayman for eight years and applied in their own right to stay here were declined 60 per cent of the time between September 2008 and November 2011. According to Immigration Department figures, 1,414 people were granted permanent residence as a result of those applications, and 2,099 were refused during the period.
The overall number of applications for permanent residence declined sharply between July 2009 and November 2011, when compared to applications made between September 2008 and June 2009.
Comparatively few people of independent means, including wealthy retirees, have applied for grants of residence. According to immigration figures, a total of 68 people of independent means have been granted residence within the past three years and another seven wealthy retirees have been granted leave to remain.
Fewer than 50 people in the past three years have been approved to legally reside here as the dependant of a Caymanian; it is not clear whether that figure includes children. A total of 333 people were granted the right to remain and work as a dependant of a permanent resident-holder.