Being British may hurt PR chances

The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory, but having British citizenship won’t help a non-Caymanian’s chances of getting permanent residence under the new Immigration Law.  

In fact, it may actually hurt those chances.  

The current “points system” used to calculate whether a non-Caymanian qualifies for permanent residence – the right to reside in Cayman for the rest of their life – awards a certain number of points based on the nationality of the applicant.  

The idea is to award more points to foreign nationalities that have less representation in Cayman and fewer points to those who already have a larger number of countrymen residing in the islands. If the person applying belongs to a nationality that holds more than 10 percent of the current work permits in the territory, they would not receive any points for that.  

A person who holds a nationality that represents between 5 percent and 10 percent of the work permits active in the territory would receive five points, and nationalities that hold fewer than 5 percent of the active work permits would receive a full 10 points.  

The government’s explanation for this in the law reads: “In order to maintain a vibrant and diverse community, it is desirable to ensure that the permanent population of the islands is made up of a balance of nationalities rather than domination by only a few nationalities.”  

For instance, Jamaicans, the most populous foreign nationality residing here, held more than 8,500 work permits as of last week. According to government records, Jamaicans hold 40 percent of the active work permits in Cayman and thus would not qualify for any points under the “nationality” section of the PR application system. Filipinos, who hold more than 2,700 permits, also fall into that category.  

Using another random example, Mexican citizens who work in Cayman held only 0.5 percent of the active work permits as of last week, so they would score a full 10 points on any PR application based on nationality. 

Citizens of the United Kingdom – those from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – held 1,838 work permits as of last week, according to immigration statistics. They now fall “in between,” earning five points for their respective nationalities.  

Work permits increase 

Over the past six months, work permits in the territory increased significantly. In the beginning of 2014, the number of work permits held by non-Caymanians was around 19,500. Ten percent of that would be 1,950 – putting British citizens who apply for permanent residence perilously close to losing any points they might gain based on their nationality – in their own territory. If the number of work permits were to fall, or if the number of British citizens hired here on work permits were to increase by just a few hundred, that would occur.  

Canadian workers in Cayman are on the opposite end of the spectrum. As of last week, Canadian nationals held 1,107 of the 21,403 work permits. That gives them 5.2 percent of the current work permits, enough for five points on the immigration nationality PR points score. If Canadian worker numbers fell just a little more, or if work permits increased slightly, they would receive a full 10 points for nationality on their application.  

Only five nationalities – Jamaican, Filipino, British, American and Canadian – currently lose any points on the nationality scoring section of the PR application. The other approximately 120 nationalities residing in Cayman would receive a full 10 points on their applications.  


  1. Call me a Limy lover, that is ok, but my thoughts are that special consideration should be given to the British. After all they were the grass roots of forming the Cayman population.
    The British may act poised and stick to themselves, but they are not our biggest threat on the Island, trust me on that.
    And the Jamaicans, are just trying to survive.

  2. I can understand the need to maintain a diverse community, but if Cayman wants to remain as a British colony (at least for the present), it seems a bit unfair to penalise British citizens. After all Britain has allowed all Caymanians to obtain full British passports without any restrictions.

  3. with all the killings, crime, the usual stuff, why would anybody now want to have permanent residency in Cayman? Especially the British who have a more peaceful life and existence even if the weather is wretched why would they want to expose themselves to Caribbean Crime?

  4. Am I missing something here ?

    It seems that every change that is made to Cayman’s immigration law makes the situation more complicated. confusing and segregated for both foreign PR aspirants and Caymanians.

    Will someone please correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding to the PR proccess and reasons for why applicants wish to pursue it is to become a part of Cayman and its culture…to become integrated into Cayman’s society and make Cayman their permanent home.

    These complicated rules and statistical thresholds all seem designed to defeat that very purpose…to have a community of PR citizens that are kept boxed into their own nationalities and national cultures while residing permanently in the Cayman Islands.

    This mentality is causing enough segregation, resentment and retaliation between the different nationalities that reside in Cayman already and has done so for many years.

    The government’s explanation for this in the law reads: In order to maintain a vibrant and diverse community, it is desirable to ensure that the permanent population of the islands is made up of a balance of nationalities rather than domination by only a few nationalities.

    As long as this remains the Government’s policy, the simmering tensions and discrimminatory practices, particularly in employment, will never reside.

    And Caymanians wonder why the foreign-owned and managed businesses in Cayman refuse or are reluctant to hire Caymanians ?

    Or promote and advance them, when they do hire them ?

    Has anyone ever heard of tit-for-tat ?

  5. The government’s explanation for this in the law reads: In order to maintain a vibrant and diverse community, it is desirable to ensure that the permanent population of the islands is made up of a balance of nationalities rather than domination by only a few nationalities.
    __________________________________________________________________Hahaha! That line from the government basically runs counter to the entire PR process which seeks to make it difficult for anyone other than Caymanians to live here permanently. The government doesn’t want diversity, I think it mostly just wants to penalize Jamaicans and Phillipinos.

  6. How racists to base laws on nationality of points. Why not make immigration laws based on good clean criminal records, and have enough money for a return ticket back home, and support him or herself , not be a burden on the Government, and be a good citizens of the Islands, and remember that we are a British Commonwealth Colony.

  7. Nicole

    I see the basis for your views on who makes up the preferred PR aspirant/applicant…those type of people were who this process was set up to attract….20-30 years ago.

    However, the dynamics of the situation has changed drastically since then.

    Many PR applicants nowadays are qualified professionals in many of the vital professions that Cayman’s society needs and depends on.

    And who will have to continue to work in their careers in Cayman.

    And who fulfill all other criteria regarding property ownership etc etc.

    And who come from those (in some prejudiced views), undesirable nationalities…as quoted by some commentors.

    And have loved friends and associates within the Caymanian population.

    It is the political heirarchy that is setting these draconian immigration policies, not the grass-roots Caymanian population, who have no real say in the matter.

  8. I agree wholeheartedly with Ron Clair Ebanks. Criminal record and can they support themselves.
    There should be a quota system also. No more then 3000 people of any one country for PR.

  9. Maybe offer significant bonus points (even 50, 60 or more) as a reward for those who stand up for Cayman in the fight against crime – Given the recent atrocities in West Bay, and the disappointing response.

    It would send a message that those with a sense of civic responsibility and community value are as valuable to Cayman as the multi-millionaires who can afford to deal with crime by buying higher fences, sharper barbed wire and private security firms.

    It may also prick the conscience of those who shamefully turn a blind eye and leave it to others to do the right thing.

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