Residency applications plummet

The Cayman Islands Immigration Department has received fewer applications for permanent residence over the last 14 months than it had been accustomed to receiving in every quarter between 2011 and 2012, prior to sweeping changes in the Immigration Law taking effect.  

According to records provided by the department, 337 residency applications have been received since changes in the law made that status far more difficult to obtain. Since Oct. 26, 2013, none of the applications has been heard because of legal uncertainty surrounding how to interpret the points system that governs whether an applicant will be successful.  

Those issues were recently cleared up, and government officials have said they expect to begin hearing residency applications soon.  

The 337 applications do not include another 11 received prior to the change in the law which are still being considered.  

Even with the earlier applications added, the number of permanent residence requests government now has to consider is a far cry from just a few years ago.  

According to department figures, 1,981 permanent residence applications were received between July 2011 and June 2012. On average, the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board received nearly 500 PR requests in every quarter that year.  

Some of those applications had to be re-filed if they were incomplete or if errors were made, so it is possible some of the cases listed during the year were from the same person applying twice. Immigration statistics for the period also show 262 permanent residence applications were refused.  

Under the new system, applications are being received at the rate of 24 per month, or 72 per quarter. 

One key factor in slowing the number of applications may be the cost of filing a permanent residence application under the new system. The application fee for PR jumped from $300 to $1,000 under the revised Immigration Law. In addition, all fees, including the annual work permit fee, a one-time approval fee and fees for any dependants supported by the successful PR applicant, must be paid up front at the time of the application. Previously, these fees were paid only if the application was successful.  

If the application under the new PR system fails, all fees except the initial $1,000 application fee will be returned. However, there is no requirement under the law for the applicant’s employer to pay any of the fees on behalf of their employee. In many cases, that means the PR-seeker would be left to foot the bill for thousands of dollars in costs, which, if they were not successful, they would have to attempt to get back before leaving the island within the legally mandated 90 days.  

Some easing 

The PR application process was changed again recently to ease or clarify some of the earlier difficulties with the points system attached to the application, but the costs associated with it did not change.  

Issues surrounding property ownership, cash savings and volunteering were all changed, largely in favor of the applicant seeking PR.  

A brief review of the changes by local law firm HSM Chambers produced a mostly positive result from the point of view of permanent resident hopefuls.  

“Our preliminary assessment is that points are generally more readily available under this system than they were under that in place between Oct. 26, 2013, and [Jan. 16, 2015],” HSM attorney Nicolas Joseph said.  

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  1. A very interesting topic for all, and I must still give credit to the Immigration Department for doing a very good job in handling their positions on applications. It shows that they have been listening to the voice of the people, dotting i’s and crossing T’s in the right places.
    One thing for sure we need to be very careful about some nations of persons who may want to dominate or fragile infrastructure. We as a people welcome good ideas and advice from those who come to live amongst us, and are more learned, however; I believe we all need to take a step back and look at the big picture of who want to get along.
    On another note, I think the point system is very important, and applicants should be in positions of self maintenance. Having money in the bank or a piece of property is very good, but a big look at who can come to the Island live for six months, gets a 300,000. loan and buys a condo and apply for residence. Just hope their intentions are good.
    Another note, it would be very wise for us to read, watch, and listen carefully, and recognize those who truly love Cayman and want to make it their home. Remember all that glitters is not Gold.

  2. Twyla, every time you speak your voice about a subject related to this country, I cringe given the ignorance you reflect in your attitude towards all other nationalities. You are obviously a proud Caymanian, which I applaud but you are so far removed from what it takes to make a country productive and thrive in a global economy. Foreigners coming in to invest in the country should be seen as a positive and not a negative to the locals of the island. Anyone spending money to come their and invest in this country will foster economic growth and development of the island. If I buy a home, condo, etc.. that means I am coming their to spend time on the island. Which also means I spend money traveling their, paying government duties and fees, buying goods and services, engaging in daily life in Cayman. All of this contributes to additional jobs and demand for products and service to be brought to the island, not to mention economies of scale. The more people, the higher the demand which encourages competition in pricing. I am not committing crimes, I am not taking away anyone’s job, and I am not hurting Cayman’s society as you so believe. The individuals who are creating issues and problems are likely not the ones who are coming over and investing in the county to obtain Caymanian citizenship, but are looking to create problems here to avoid issues with the problems they created in their own country. Some of my best friends who live on the island, and have lived their for nearly 10 years are having a challenging time trying to get PR status. They own a home, pay for schooling for their children, buy cars and shop on the island and contribute to society. The both earn a good living and are productive members of society. However, they are given the 3rd degree when it comes to trying to apply for PR and citizenship, which makes no sense to me. These folks I am referring to likely represent 95% of the applications for PR and residency, with the other 5% being the people you don’t want living their. With the government making it even harder for the 95%, they are just cutting off their nose to spite their face. It should not be a fight to obtain citizenship or PR status, but one that is fair and just for all individuals that apply. For once, please put your attitude aside and realize that the majority of the individuals who want residency are good, deserving people who should be given a chance.

  3. Very mesmerizing post from someone with a last name of Vargas @ 14:53…

    I would imagine residency plummeting is a bad thing, as residency means spending in the local/resident economy. For example residency means rent or real estates sales In Cayman. Residency generally means spending in local supermarkets, restaurants, ALT, Gas,Automobile, using CUC and Water (which is a good thing by the way) etc. That’s what actually create jobs here. Government jobs would not exist close as to what it is today if not for the private sector. And the private sector is fed by People and enterprise. Therefore the more people spending, the more money/wealth you have access to. I love to hear from the people because they personally are comfortable, then rest of us have to make due with the limits of their comforts. We have young Caymanians growing up here that are going to need jobs and opportunities. This requires economical growth unless you will send them to live overseas. Who’s going to give them a job? You?

    Caymanian businesses need more residents. Just about every store commerce on islands if they would like to have more customers and see their response. More customers, more demand, more jobs and opportunities.

    OF COURSE the residency boards have to be diligent and grant toward producers/contributors toward our economy! Who suggests that we should let in thieve and dependents?? We have regulation precisely against that.

    But to somehow suggest that residency plummeting in general is a good thing, and somehow means that the government is doing its job is just plain ignorant, and dangerously so… I know I can certainly use more money spending residents.

  4. Nicole,

    Don’t waste your breath, what you describe is what ‘s the norm in Cayman. The general impression of foreigners is that no matter what good they do , how much they invest or how big a home they have, just their very presence in Cayman is somehow taking something away from Caymanians. I do believe that most people who are pursuing PR or Status have only the best intentions at heart, they came to Cayman, fell in love with the place and dreamed of a better quieter life style. They invested heavily into this dream and hope to someday become a welcome party of the Caymanian community, where they will be treated as an equal with all the benefits of calling Cayman Home. Well sorry to bust your bubble but this will never happen. You may get PR or even status if you sink enough money into it, but you will never actually be welcomed by the Caymanian community, no matter how much good you do or how much you invest you will always be treated and looked at as an outsider or as Caymans leaders like to put it a ‘Piece of Driftwood’. Take an example from the top, Kenneth Dart came to Cayman gave up his allegiance to the USA to show his commitment to making Cayman his home, invested over a half billion dollars already into multiple businesses put up millions to help improve the infrastructure and happens to be one of the largest employers of Caymanians on the island second only to the CIG. Yet ask any Caymanian what they think of him and the response will be something like he’s not a real Caymanian, he’s only a paper Caymanian. And most would like to see him leave because they think somehow Caymanians would be better off with all foreigners gone. I myself come regularly to the island, Own multiple properties and have a comfortable savings account in Cayman. I have never held a job in Cayman nor would I ever need to, all we do is put money out when it comes to Cayman , yet I regularly get the attitude that I’m taking something away from the Caymanian people just by being there.

    My Advice to anyone seeking PR or Status so they can call Cayman Home is to consider all this when thinking about whether or not to apply for PR and ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

    Oh and remember that if you ever fall on bad times you will most likely be abruptly asked to leave.

  5. Nicole, and any others who do not like my comments, I only have this to say. You don’t like my apples then don’t shake my tree.
    It is entirely your prerogative to feel and speak the nonsense you do, SO if you are not happy with my comments as a Caymanian then do the next best thing which is find a plane or a boat and get on it. You or anyone else cannot do me a thing for speaking my mind, so speak your mind, it will not stop me from saying what I have to say, and I hope you realize that by now, and A J Ebanks which can stand for Any Jack Ebanks, the name Vargas did not come from a slave.

  6. Nicole and Michael, your comments are a little too close to the truth, and that is what is causing Ms Vargas to speak her mind.
    Trouble is, that when she does so she regresses into thoughts limited by an insular outlook.
    However that wasnt my point, which was to echo your comments on how much incomers do for the benefit of the Islands, and how, no matter what they bring, they are treated as though their motive is to take away from those whose connections go back longer.
    Think of some of those charitable organisations that contribute so much, think of the businesses that contribute so much to the Islands’ wealth, and there are many more examples. Yes, I believe it is the duty of incomers to earn their place here, and yes, that might be well judged by a points system, but it is sad when people think these contributions are an attempt to steal something away from Cayman!

  7. Authur, I for one appreciate Miss Vargas’s comments. She is very outspoken and doesn’t seem to bite her tongue. This is a lot easier to deal with than people who smile in your face and talk behind your back. I would much rather have someone stare me right in the eye and say I do not like your type than to say it behind my back. When I get realistic view points from Caymanians like this it helps me understand that I will always be an outsider in Cayman and I have no problem with that, It is what it Is and I’m happy that I can now see through all the Cayman Kind crap that suckered me into buying property here in the first place..

    This type of insight also makes me understand why a lot of foreign businesses would rather hire expats over Caymanians, I know I wouldn’t want someone working for me that looked down on me and didn’t respect me. It’s also probably why you don’t see many Caymanian waiters or waitresses or even bartenders, I can understand why Caymanians wouldn’t want jobs that require them to assist people that they despise. I don’t on the other hand understand why they don’t want foreigners in these jobs as well. Perhaps the preferred situation would be to have Cayman for Caymanians as we hear so many times where Restaurants would be filled with only Caymanian customers who are waited on by a highly paid all Caymanian wait staff. Property Owners would all be Caymanian as well as the tenants they rent to.

    In a nutshell, people need to be aware that Cayman is a great place to visit and vacation, but I wouldn’t plan on calling it home. When visiting one would be best to keep to themselves and stay out of the way of Caymanians, their tolerance for you is very limited and this will show in their dealing with you. If you are fortunate enough to get a opportunity to work in Cayman, please take this for what it is, a short term gig and don’t spend all your money here, you will need it when you’re sent packing and have to get back on that Plane or Boat, and truct me no matter how nice your are or how much you do the Caymanain people will be happy to the back of your shirt..

    This is also why I limit my investments in Cayman because I know it’s a house of Card that can come tumbling down at the whim of an irritated Customs or immigration Officer

  8. These final comments go to anyone who has not or better yet, refuses to get the big picture. We do have a serious Cayman expatriate problem here. This problem is not happening with all expatriates, only a few. Most Caymanians will not speak up and tell you the truth. Stop talking down to us and treating us like we are nothing. Cringe at my words or grin your teeth and bear it, I don’t care, but you are going to hear how I feel. This world has thousands of places where persons may go and invest their money and where they can still find slaves. Cayman is not one of them.
    Many foreign people are thinking and saying that they contribute to making Cayman a better place, and of course how could I be selfish or thoughtless to say this is not so. Yes, foreigners play a very important part in making Cayman a better place, for Cayman and more for THEMSELVES you fool no one. But listen to me good the problem is YOUR ATTITUDE of wanting to look down on us and treat us like we are idiots wearing grass skirts. Try stop that attitude and then we will get along. You do not want Caymanians to work for you because we are not going to accept being treated as slaves and call you Massa, Massa. Cayman has never had any plantation or Sugar cane slaves and we are not going to call you Massa, Massa. If there are a few Uncle Tom’s around, sorry I am not there in the line up.
    We have some serious breed of foreigners coming to our shores since the past ten years, we can do with out. You know exactly who you are that is why you are jumping on my band wagon every day. One more thing, What ever they may say about Jamaicans they are much better than some of you because you treat them the same way with no respect. If war broke out tomorrow it would be them fighting with us, some of you with your noses up in the air and thinking that you are all of that proper need to take check. You are here and know us, we do not know where you came from. I do not have no big pile of money or big business and lots of properties and condominiums on the beach to boast about, but like Hell am I going to let any of you disrespect me in my country. So stay cool take the wrong advice given by Michael or decide that you need to think about how dark your hearts are.

  9. Michael, I did take your advice, some years before you gave it! I always knew it was a place to pass through but not consider home, and believe me I did my bit for Caymanians. I was sent here to rescue a business that had appointed a local head, many lunches and not much business hours later, I tried to get it working again. When I retired, the then head of immigration praised me in public for what I had done for local people. How? I sought out good qualified people with the right work ethic, and believe me I had to reject a bunch of people to find them. So I do know of what I speak.
    And, Ms Vargas, I do see the big picture, I suspect that you dont. I do know that what you say is sincere, but I also know that you should get out of your Island and see what is really the bigger picture, because otherwise, you will only ever get a blinkered insular view!
    Michaels picture of an Island peopled only by Caymanians is worth analysing, it would sink without trace. You think that Cayman is being milked by outsiders, but in truth, without outsiders, it would be go back to the days of sending seamen away to earn a living. I had difficulty finding the right people because there were but few. Too many, perfectly intelligent, thought that the job should be theirs even if they hadnt the qualifications, the ones that met the grade had gone away and earned their merits and learned their trade. Too often a lawyer would believe that the local law degree was enough, the accountant had a CPA from Florida when he or she could have worked harder for a real ACA qualification. Yes, get out and take a look at the big picture, you wont find it here!

  10. Arthur Rank just for your information at this age I have gone through FOUR passports including British Passport. I have lived in quite a few countries of the world including USA, New York, Miami, New Jersey, Tampa, Jamaica and Cuba and more. Can you say that you have already used up four passports from your country? I have seen it all and I see no reason of wanting to remain anywhere else for the rest of my life except Cayman Islands. You of course must have a good reason why you did not return back to your country after coming here on a contract. However, my good thoughts are, although you have spent years here, and have gotten a belly full, you still siting at the table and over eating yourself. Get up and stretch yourself for once, so you can feel more comfortable with Caymanians instead of just sitting there enjoying the menu but still want to be head chef.

  11. Ms Vargas, my humble apologies, I judged you by your comments from which I could never have guessed you were so well travelled!
    Yes, I have used up many passports! And I have returned to my country many times.
    The rest of your comments dont make much sense, but I stand by mine!

  12. Arthur, maybe we are getting to understand each other now. Don’t judge me because I have a fast mouth. That is just me, but underneath I am a very cool person who has travelled the world, seen the rough the tough and the ugly; lived in many places so I know what out there is like. Do not judge a book by its cover, and if many who live here would take a little time to have conversations with Caymanians instead of assuming that we do not like foreign people, they would then realize how wrong they were. All we are asking is to treat us with the same respect and do not put us down. People on work permits want to live here so they will go to any length to keep their jobs, and I mean any lengths……no mater what it takes. Think about that.

  13. Twyla (!) Its lovely to get to know you, but I should stress that I am not one of those that did not converse with Caymanians, my sole function was to recruit good Caymanians to take my job and others. I succeeded, but in my efforts, I found a lot of people that seemed to think that jobs were theirs by right, people that didnt want the bother of getting qualifications or out of Island experience, people that thought office hours were optional, and many that allowed work to occaisonally interrupt phone calls. And I found some that were excellent in every way, and that allowed me to cancel my work permit before it was finished. I didnt stay a moment longer than I had to and was pleased to move on to enjoy life.
    To explain our earlier exchanges, I also had to do business with a variety of politicians, and you know what I think of some of them, but once again, I did meet good ones, Mr Benson for example, sadly long retired even when I met him.
    As to respect, that has to be earned!

  14. Thank you Arthur, now you see after all we have a lot of things in common.
    I also have no reason to doubt what you expressed about your experiences here in recruiting in the work force and the expectations of many.
    We, like any other countries have people who behave and think differently.
    One thing that disturbs me greatly is to hear a visitor leave because of bad experiences which was no fault of his.
    My beliefs, allows me at the end of each day to retire to thoughts that life on earth is only a walk through a park; where we will encounter a bit of everything. However what is important is when the walk is over what next. Enjoy it and have a blessed weekend.

  15. How interesting that Jamaicans would be singled out in this debate. The statement that If war broke out tomorrow it would be them fighting side by side with Caymanians has a lot of merit but what I find confusing is that the Jamaican Expat population are the ones that are put down the most by Caymanians. They are constantly blamed for Caymans Criminal activity as if no crime is every committed by a Caymanian. Robbery? Who do people blame. Breakin ? who do people blame? The finger is always pointed foreigners and unfortunately it’s the one that look more like me. No different than growing up in New Jersey, where the crimes were always blamed on ‘ Some Black Guy ‘ .

    I have never been a slave nor ever looked for one. However my family tree has many of them in it and none of them got paid a cent or had a choice of whether or not to take the job. So to compare low paying jobs to Slavery is not a good comparison because people in these type of jobs have a choice.

    As far as my advice goes, my opinion has changed significantly since I started frequenting Cayman and getting to know more and more Caymanians as well as the insight that I get from the comments made by Caymanians to news articles as well as the responses to even the simplest suggestion or opinion I offer. Here’s a good examples or responses to simple questions, observations or opinions that would lead anyone to believe their opinion or presence is not wanted.

    ‘Mind una business then, and beside that stop straddling the fence.’

    I am in my country mind you, I am not in yours, and I am not telling anyone how to make or change things where they came from. What happen to most Caymanians is that they are too passive to stand up and let una know that una need to stay out of what does not concern una. This does not concern you, so butt out.

    What this makes clear to me is that my input, assistance or even my opinion is not wanted so why offer it.

    So if anyone wants to know why I offer the advice I do, just keep reading and you will see. In the meantime as personal requested I will not offer my opinion or contribution to anyone that doesn’t want it. I will also continue to enjoy the beautiful waters of Cayman, the Sun, the land I purchased and the home I built in Cayman with my own hard earned money. I took nothing from anyone. For those that don’t like foreigners owning land, stop selling it.

    The statement that People on work permits will go to any length to keep their jobs, is probably right and this is something I can relate to, spending the last 50 or more years in the USA growing up in New Jersey and New York, I have had to deal with a good amount of discrimination just because of the color on my skin. I have on many occasions been passed up on a job or been in a position where I had to go to any length to keep a job, but I did it because I knew it was only a means to an end. A lot of people need to realize that this is the way of the world and that it would be worthwhile having the same attitude of doing whatever it takes to get ahead, if you aren’t willing to do whatever it takes and instead wait for success to be handed to you it will never happen unless you have rich parents that can just create a future and hand it to you, however I would expect that in many case like this you may still be expected to earn your keep.