A small, but significant change that could affect how long applicants for permanent residence can remain in the Cayman Islands has been approved as part of sweeping changes to the Immigration Law.
Currently, anyone who applies for permanent resident status after eight years of continuous residence in the islands is allowed to remain here while that application is being processed.
For instance, if an individual who had been in Cayman for eight years and six months applied for resident status and that application took nine months for the relevant immigration-board to process, they would be overstaying their nine-year term limit in the islands.
What has been done in such cases previously is the person is assumed to be “working by operation of law” until the outcome of their permanent residence application is determined.
That’s not the case anymore. Instead, that person would have to apply to the chief immigration officer for permission to continue working.
“This change of process will allow for the permission to be varied during this period, if necessary, to reflect a change in circumstances with respect to the applicant, for example, the need to add or remove a dependent,” according to an analysis of the immigration legal changes provided to the Caymanian Compass last month.
Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans said she couldn’t think of a reason why someone working legally in the islands would be denied on such an application just because it had taken a board or the Immigration Department longer to process the application.
In cases where the refusal of a work permit renewal is being appealed, “working by operation of law” status will continue to be available, she said.