A proposed term limit on residence for non-Caymanian civil servants could disproportionately impact police, 911 employees, prison guards, government lawyers, auditors and public school teachers, according to data collected by the Portfolio of the Civil Service.
Those departments or areas of government maintain among the highest ratios of non-Caymanian to Caymanian employees, the portfolio’s human resources audit for the 2014 budget year revealed.
More than half of the employees of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service were listed as non-Caymanian, according to the report. Of the RCIPS’s 449-person staff, including police officers and civilian workers, 232 (51.7 percent) were non-Caymanian.
A similar situation existed within Cayman Islands prisons, where 79 workers (51 percent) were non-Caymanian.
Other law enforcement agencies in the islands, including Customs, the Immigration Department and the Fire Service, would see little effect if a term limit policy for non-Caymanian civil servants was introduced, since well more than 95 percent of their staffs are non-Caymanian. The Fire Service employs one non-Caymanian, while immigration and customs each employ three non-Caymanians.
The civil service human resources report showed that public safety communications – 911 – would be greatly affected if the term limit or rollover policy, as it is often called, was applied to the central government. Twelve of the 21 employees in the public safety communications office (about 57 percent) were listed as non-Caymanians as of June 30.
The government’s legal affairs office listed 28 of its 51 employees (55 percent) as non-Caymanian. Thirteen of 17 employees in the auditor general’s office were non-Caymanian, according to the report.
The Department of Education could also face a large impact from a term limit policy. According to portfolio figures, 265 of the department’s 676 employees (nearly 40 percent) were non-Caymanian. However, that figure does not separate out public school teachers, of whom about 52 percent were non-Caymanians, the latest figures from 2013 show.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson told the Legislative Assembly earlier this year that his office hoped to have at least initial proposals for a civil service-wide rollover policy presented to Cabinet by the end of 2014. Mr. Manderson acknowledged the difficulties of implementing such a policy, given the breakdown of nationalities shown in the human resources report, but he said there are methods of addressing the issue. He did not publicly expand upon any such plans in the Legislative Assembly.
The general idea that non-Caymanian civil servants who do not hold permanent residence – now more than 800 – would fall under the same law that limits the amount of time private sector workers without local connections can remain in the country. The term-limit on residency was extended to nine years following amendments to the Immigration Law in 2013.
Non-Caymanian civil servants’ employment contracts are governed under the Public Service Management Law, but it has been anticipated that any changes made that affect non-Caymanian civil servants’ residency would have to be included in the Immigration Law.
An effort in 2007 to enact such a policy failed partly because certain government departments that employ more foreign workers would be harder hit by a term-limit policy than others, particularly the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and the Department of Education.
In the 2007 proposal, the police service would have been entirely exempt from the term-limit policy, according to then-Deputy Head of the Civil Service Peter Gough.
Also at issue in 2007 was whether various statutory authorities and government-owned companies should continue to be “protected” from the term-limit policy. Many entities, including Cayman Airways and Water Authority-Cayman, are already required to get work permits for expatriate employees. However, others, including the Health Services Authority, were not required to do so.
According to the 2013/14 government human resources report, 341 of the health authority’s 808 employees (42 percent) were non-Caymanian.