Immigration tribunal appeals crowd courts

Immigration queue cayman

Legal appeals and requests for judicial reviews against decisions of the Cayman Islands Immigration Appeals Tribunal appear to be becoming more commonplace in the local courts system.  

According to a review of Grand Court filings, at least four appeals cases – two in December and two in November – were filed with the courts seeking to extend time or overturn the decisions of the appeals tribunal.  

The tribunal is an appointed board that serves as an appellate body for decisions made by Cayman’s three main immigration-related boards; the Work Permit Board, the Business Staffing Plan Board and the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board.  

In one December filing, Andrew Ray Brown is seeking additional time to file an appeal against an Oct. 22, 2012, tribunal decision that denied his Caymanian Status application, after the Caymanian Status and PR board denied the initial application.  

In a separate filing from Dec. 18, Federico Rellin Abueva is seeking a rehearing of his application to the appeals tribunal – an appeal initially filed in 2010.  

A third case from late November seeks to review the decision of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal on Oct. 14, 2013, made in relation to the permanent residence application of Carmen Jack-Chowtee. The case essentially claims that neither the PR board, nor the appeals tribunal, counted the applicant’s points toward permanent residence properly.  

In a fourth case from November, Peggy Darling Allen seeks permission for a judicial review of a decision by the Immigration Appeals Tribunal, made in July 2010, regarding her permanent residence application. Ms Allen’s case claims that her appeal was not heard by the tribunal “[through] no fault of her own.”  

The Cayman Islands government gave some indication earlier in 2013 that, under proposed changes to the Immigration Law at the time, more appeals would be filed related to decisions on permanent residence and Caymanian status.  

Permanent residence is the right to live in Cayman for the rest of one’s life. Caymanian status is territorial “belonger” status, akin to a local form of citizenship for Caymanians, who, internationally, are considered British Overseas Territory citizens.  

The Immigration Appeals Tribunal is trying to make it easier for people to file objections to immigration-related decisions that go against them. 

Beginning Sept. 30, the Immigration Appeals Tribunal opened a new kiosk on the first floor of the government administration building on Elgin Avenue in George Town. 

Anyone filing an appeal can drop off documents at the kiosk. Individuals who already have appeals pending can drop off additional records, if required, and also check on the status of their appeal at the kiosk. 

The appeals desk is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

The government expects to receive as many as 2,000 applications for permanent residence from non-Caymanian workers during the current 2013/14 financial year, according to budget records.  

By way of comparison, the government received 925 permanent residence applications during the last budget year.  

Another way of looking at it: Between July 2009 and November 2011, the government received 1,439 applications, according to records released to the Caymanian Compass under the Freedom of Information Law. Those 1,439 applications over about 27 months are fewer than the minimum number of permanent residence applications government expects to receive this year.  

The budget for processing Caymanian status and permanent residence applications has been increased by about $150,000 over last year’s spending plan.  

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