Work permit case takes five years on appeal

A local company’s application for a work permit that was denied in February 2009 apparently took another five years to get an appeals tribunal hearing.

According to a writ filed in Grand Court this month, DDL Studio Ltd. is challenging a ruling by the Immigration Appeals Tribunal that denied an appeal against one of the architecture firm’s work permit applications.

“The tribunal failed to give any or any sufficient account to the needs of a local trading entity which had demonstrated the need for the employee, but who had not received Caymanian applications for the position,” the writ stated.

According to court records, the permit application for employee Nicholas Robert Sellars was initially denied by the Cayman Islands Work Permit Board on Feb. 13, 2009.

However, it wasn’t until April 24 of this year that the tribunal made its decision, which was served on the applicant on May 6.

“The tribunal failed to take into account the inordinate delay in hearing … the appeal … more than five years,” the court filing read.

As of Thursday, Mr. Sellars was listed on DDL Studio’s website as a valuation surveyor.

In a separate matter, another court challenge was filed against the Immigration Appeals Tribunal following its dismissal of a work permit appeal filed by a former employee of the Cayman Islands Port Authority.

Following applications for an accounting position at the authority in September 2012, the Port Authority appealed the denial of a work permit for employee Donovan Gamaliel Hutchison.

Nearly two years later, the appeals tribunal dismissed the case and upheld the permit denial.

“… the tribunal is ‘of the view that there were and are Caymanian certified public accountants available, able and willing to fill this vacancy and/or other Caymanians without such professional designation that are capable of being trained to fulfill the role as an accountant with the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands,” the writ filed May 27 states.

The port argued that in this specific case, only the suitability of the five Caymanian applicants who applied for the position in September 2012 should have been considered.

“By making such a broad statement … the tribunal took into account fresh or extraneous information not included in the reasons provided by the board or the information that was submitted by the [port employee] at the time of his original application,” the writ states.

Previous ruling

One recent case that may have an effect on the work permit appeals was decided by Acting Grand Court Judge Nova Hall in October 2013. It involved a woman who had been fighting the denial of her initial permanent residence application since 2008. The case proceeded through various stages, ending in a challenge to the Grand Court heard late last year.

Judge Hall referred the matter back to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal for a re-hearing, but she noted the following in her findings regarding the woman’s arguments to the court: “It is understood that the main grievance of the applicant is that, if the Immigration Appeals Tribunal had merely restored the lost 20 points to her application … she would have qualified for permanent residency.

“This concept of the manner in which the Immigration Appeals Tribunal operates is inaccurate.”

According to the Immigration Law [2013 Revision], the appeals tribunal hearing on the denial of an immigration application is considered to be a “re-hearing.” That means new evidence and changes in the applicant’s circumstances are allowed to be introduced.

“It was entirely appropriate that the tribunal apply the current laws when awarding points,” the judge said. “No promise had been made to the applicant that there would not be a re-hearing or that points would not be awarded pursuant to current guidelines.”


  1. A lot of these so-called local companies are abusing the work permit system and often lie to the Immigration Appeals Tribunal (IAT) in order to get work permits approved. While I think that the IAT does try to push back against the lies the truth is that in many cases the IAT does not have the resources that would be needed to conduct the type of investigation that would get to the root of the problem.

  2. Five years to get an appeal hearing. Like so many other things. Drag the foot, drag the foot. I not surprised it did not took ten.

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