Restrictive regulations in Immigration Law
Applicants for permanent residence under the revised Cayman Islands Immigration Law can lose points on their behalf if they are mean to co-workers.
An “unlimited” number of points can be deducted from a residency application for certain work-related issues, according to the regulations attached to the Immigration [Amendment] [No. 2] Law, 2013.
“This includes situations where it has been proven that the applicant has mistreated fellow workers in the workplace, Caymanians or non-Caymanians,” the regulations state.
Any deduction of points in this regard should be explained fully by either the relevant board or the chief immigration officer, whoever hears the application. The points deducted should be “reasonable,” according to the regulations.
Under the Immigration Law and accompanying regulations approved as part of sweeping changes to Cayman’s immigration system by lawmakers last month, permanent residence applicants must be awarded 110 points out of a possible 215 to be successful.
Permanent residence is the legal right to remain in the Cayman Islands for the rest of one’s life. It is the penultimate step to receiving British overseas territories citizenship.
In addition to work issues, a maximum of 100 points can be deducted from applicants for permanent residence who have criminal convictions, serious health problems or no “reasonably funded pension plan.”
Criminal offenses can be counted against the applicant whether they occur in the Cayman Islands or in another jurisdiction, according to the regulations.
“Points may be deducted if the applicant has been convicted … under the laws of another country, the nature of the offense would, in the opinion of the [immigration] board or the chief immigration officer, make his continued presence in the islands contrary to public interest,” the regulations state.
In addition, statutory offenses could also cost points on a residence application, but those reductions would have to be “proportionate in the circumstances.”
Points can also be deducted if the person suffers from a communicable disease that makes him or her “dangerous to the community,” in the view of a health officer reviewing the issue. A person with a mental disorder also would not be likely to gain permanent residence.
The point system that determines whether a non-Caymanian resident who has lived in the Cayman Islands for at least eight years can obtain permanent residency has been made far stricter under the new legislation.
“It is certainly going to be more difficult to get permanent residency under the new regime, more difficult than it was than under the old regime,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said last month.
The premier said the permanent residency qualification system would have to be made more stringent due to the abolishment of “key employee” status for foreign workers under existing immigration law. Key employee designations had been required for any non-Caymanian worker to be able to stay in the territory long enough to apply for permanent residency, unless that worker was married to a Caymanian or has some close Caymanian connection.
There are points awarded under the new permanent residence system for close Caymanian connections. Those with Caymanian parents can earn up to 40 points toward residency. Those with Caymanian brothers or sisters can earn up to 20 points.
Other factors considered on permanent residence applications include education and training, local investment, cultural diversity, age and community integration.