Government’s reform of the system by which non-Caymanians can apply for permanent residence, the legal right to remain in the islands for the rest of their lives, has left more than a few individuals inclined to seek that status scratching their heads in confusion.
A new “ready reckoner” created by the Immigration Department is set to assist prospective permanent residence applicants in wading through red tape.
“This reckoner, also available via the immigration website, allows the public to use, essentially, the same tool as would be used by the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board to assess the application,” a statement released by government late Friday indicated.
The residency application process seeks information on a number of aspects of the would-be permanent resident’s life, from employment, to cash in the bank, to age, to volunteer efforts. Some categories are more straightforward than others.
For instance, an applicant is awarded zero to 10 points based on his or her nationality and an additional zero to 10 points based on their age at the time of the application.
However, other areas – such as the category awarding anywhere from zero to 20 points for volunteer efforts in the community are not as precise. For instance, points can be awarded for “participation in local service club activities,” leaving “service club” undefined.
Government officials said Friday that it was hoped the “reckoner” tool would assist in gauging individual points applicants might expect to earn on the permanent residence test. The minimum points that must be achieved for a successful residency applicant is 110, up from 100 under the previous test.
As of March, the board responsible for hearing permanent residence applications had not heard any new cases under changes to the Immigration Law that went into effect in October 2013. Government officials explained that this delay was partly to allow applications under the old permanent residence system to get sorted out, and partly because points awarded for specific employment categories under the new PR system hadn’t been approved by Cabinet.
Companies that must report forms to the Immigration Department when a work permit holder changes status to a permanent resident can now file those reports on line.
There is no longer any need to submit the actual hard copies of the forms at the Immigration Department.
“As of Oct. 25, 2013, it is mandatory for all employers to submit a first declaration of the permanent residents that are employed by them,” a statement from the Immigration Department noted. “Thereafter, employers only need to update the department when there is a change to any of their working conditions.”
Condition changes can include if the person is no longer employed with the company, any change in occupation, immigration status or salary. Failure to report those changes is considered a criminal offense under the revised Immigration Law.