Immigration review: Jamaicans, Filipinos, older people lose residency points

Previous immigration regulations that penalized certain more populous foreign nationalities in the Cayman Islands have been redesigned under a new permanent residency system that takes “points” away from a greater number of individuals.  

Also, the revised permanent residency points system, as proposed, awards fewer points to non-Caymanian workers between the ages of 15-24 and to workers age 61 or over who apply for residency.  

Permanent residence is the legal right to stay in the Cayman Islands for the remainder of one’s life. The newly proposed permanent resident “points” system requires an applicant to attain 110 points, making it more difficult that the current 100-point system.  

Both the current and the new permanent resident “points” system award a specific number of points based on someone’s nationality, compared with how many other individuals of that same nationality currently hold work permits in the Cayman Islands.  

The current residency system offers between zero and 20 points. Any nationalities that hold more than 20 percent of the current work permits in the islands get no points toward a permanent residency application. As of mid-September, the latest figures which are available, the only nationality with more than 20 percent of the work permits in the Cayman Islands was Jamaican.  

Under the current PR system, Filipinos – who now hold nearly 14 percent of the work permits in Cayman – would get 10 points toward a residency application. British nationals, at about 9 percent of the work permits, would get 15 points toward a permanent residence application. Similarly with Americans, at 6.8 percent of the work permits, would get 15 points toward PR. Canadians, now at 5.5 percent of all work permits held in the Cayman Islands, would get 20 points toward PR.  

All other nationalities, having fewer work permits than Canadians, would get the maximum 20 points on a PR application.  

The new proposal with regard to nationality points toward permanent residence looks quite different.  

Under the new points system – considered according to the current level of work permits – both Jamaicans and Filipinos would receive no points for nationality on a permanent residence application.  

Individual applicants from the U.S., the U.K. and Canada, each country having between 10 and 5 percent of the total work permit population, would earn just five points on the PR points scale. That means the Canadian applicant, who receives 15 points toward a 100-point PR application requirement now, will receive just five points toward a 110-point application approval when the new points system takes effect.  

Any nationality that holds less than 5 percent of the current work permits in the Cayman Islands – everyone except for Jamaicans, Filipinos, British, Americans and Canadian – gets a maximum 10 points for their nationality. That’s a 10 point reduction for every application when compared to the previous system.  

The government’s proposal for the revamped points system with regards to nationalities provides the following explanation: “In order to maintain a vibrant and diverse community, it is desirable to ensure that the permanent population of the islands is made up of a balance of nationalities, rather than domination by only a few nationalities.”  



The new permanent residence points system also introduces a new concept of awarding points based on an applicant’s age at the time their PR forms are filed.  

Points allocations here are based on the number of working years an applicant is believed to have remaining prior to retirement.  

“This, in turn, impacts factors such as productivity, pension planning and state health care usage,” the government’s explanation read. “[The government seeks to] maintain an age distribution in the labor market that contributes to the long-term sustainability of labor supply to the islands.”  

The age distribution points are broken down into five categories:  

  • Group I, ages 15 to 24, would receive four points toward permanent residence. 
  • Group II, ages 25 to 35, would receive 10 points toward PR. 
  • Group III, ages 36 to 45, would receive eight points toward PR.  
  • Group IV, ages 46 to 60, would receive six points toward PR.  
  • Group V, 61 and above, would receive zero points toward PR. 


  1. Bingo Dave, You hit it right on the nose. So if you’re not rich don’t think for second that you will even be considered for Permanent Residence. You may be lucky enough to spend around 7-10 Years in Cayman if you have a Work Permit but the reality is that at one point you will have to leave and go back to your home country or anywhere else but Cayman, so consider that when you plan out your life and how much of yourself you invest into Cayman. I have a home in Cayman that I spend quite a bit of time vacationing in, but it is obvious to me that I will most likely never be able to truly call Cayman Home and for this reason alone it wouldn’t be very smart for me or anyone in the same situation to invest everything they have into Cayman.

  2. If I own a company and employ 20/25 Caymanians and expats and Ive been living and working in Cayman for 7 or 8 years, and I decide I want to apply for PR, but because I’m over 61 years old. I wouldn’t have a chance of getting PR. So I would have to close my company and all my staff would be out in the street. That is very sad.I think these new rules need more thought.

  3. What is the most points one can get?

    Reason I ask, is you could be in Valorie’s situation and have more than enough points already that the 6-10 you lose could mean nothing.

    Everyone should be able to sit down and calculate how many points they have. I think the cultural test is worth 20 points….

  4. Valorie, Sad but true. The general perspective of the masses is that you owning a business in Cayman is taking away an opportunity that should be held by a Caymanian. Should your business have to close the expectation will be that a Caymanian will open a business of the same caliber and profitability. As far as your Expat workers go I am sure that their wellbeing is not being considered and as for the Caymanian workers the expectation will be that they will go on to fill positions at other companies that are vacated by Expats or get hired by the owners of the new Caymanian owned business that replaces yours.

    Food for thought for other people who may consider opening a business in Cayman.

  5. As an older person at the ripe old age of 36, I believe that I am in my professional prime, based on experience garnered during my 20s and early 30s. I watch with interest as the highest points are given to young professionals between 25-35, but in my estimation, this is when experience is being garnered for greater productivity and efficiency later on in your 30s-40s.
    Another issue is the award based on nationalities which in effect, nullifies the prospects for Jamaicans and Filipinos. Let me say, these two nationalities are in Cayman because they are INTERESTED in contributing to the economy with mutual benefits to them and their families. It is discriminatory that this was even considered, because these are people who have the general well-being of Cayman at heart, otherwise they would not be there. To offer greater points for minority groups, is really chasing after person(s) who do not care to be there (Cayman) in the first place, based on statistical weighting. Have the decision makers considered this?
    I never try to lambaste nonsensical moves, without offering recommendations to help the process. My recommendations are:

    1) Review the age and points appropriation model. Widen the net for 10 points to 25-45 years. Factor in experience, vis-a-vis age, within that person’s field of occupation and allot points based on maximum experience per age.

    2) Increase the nationality threshold to include majority with skills and education. Therefore, a Jamaican engineer will still have some opportunity to gain some points or a Filipino accountant has similar opportunity. Or, someone from one of the majority groups with certified construction skills (welders, masons, etc), can still benefit from investing in him or herself.

    3) Develop a skills-appraisal system that captures the invaluable contribution of persons who are not certified, such as domestic helpers and laborers, and create an avenue that will allow them to gain some points based on testing mechanisms by a government body.

    Otherwise, the objective that the government is working towards will go in vain. The granting of PR and bolstering of the population will be so skewed, Cayman will become irrelevant. Unless, there are other factors at play, such as the financial impact of losing work permit revenues for these majority nationalities if they become citizens.

    The decision makers need to revisit their objectives: Investments, Skills, Education, Multiculturalism, Productivity and Diversity.

  6. Great reading Dave, Thanks for posting the link. It’s a good description of what went wrong. There are indeed changes coming for Cayman. One can only wonder who will be effected the most. I do believe that Cayman is going to start losing business in the finance industry because of all he new fees as well as the competition throughout the Caribbean. Hopefully Cayman will be able to withstand the storm.

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