More than half of the 240 people who sat the Immigration Department’s permanent residence exam between May and July answered at least 75 percent of the questions correctly, according to open records data reviewed by the Cayman Compass.
However, none of the accepted permanent residence applications filed under the Immigration Law (2013 Revision) have been decided by the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board. Only the applications with technical flaws, such as those being filed too late, have been ruled out at this stage, immigration personnel confirmed.
The exam, which earns a certain number of points toward non-Caymanians’ applications to remain here for the rest of their lives, has 40 multiple choice questions. Every correct response is worth half a point toward a maximum of 20 points.
Successful permanent residence applicants must receive a total of at least 110 points based on a number of categories on which they are judged, including employment, investment in the islands, community involvement, education, age, nationality and financial status.
The tests were administered on 12 dates at the University College of the Cayman Islands between May 22 and July 17. The following results were reported by the Immigration Department:
- 135 people (56.3 percent) scored 15 points or higher, with between 30 and 40 correct answers
- 56 people (23.3 percent) scored between 10 points and 14.5 points, with between 20 and 29 correct answers
- 42 people (17.5 percent) scored between 5.5 points and 9.5 points, with between 11 and 19 correct answers
- 7 people (2.9 percent) scored between zero points and 5 points, with between zero and 10 correct answers.
According to immigration statistics, no one scored zero on the test. The lowest reported score among those 240 people seeking permanent residence status was 2 points by someone who had only four correct answers out of the 40 questions. However, if an applicant did not arrive on their appointed day to take the exam, they would get a zero score.
Of the 240 test takers, 14 received a perfect score.
The new permanent residence scheme, made law as of Oct. 26, 2013, presents a much more difficult and expensive path to citizenship than previously existed in the Cayman Islands.
A test course held at UCCI was developed after some test-takers under the old permanent residence scheme complained that the questions were too difficult or were irrelevant to the issue of prospective citizenship.
Professors teaching the course have said the test questions are now more directly tailored to the history, culture and civics of the Cayman Islands.
The immigration test statistics provided did not delineate test-takers who had enrolled in the UCCI course and those who had not.
Since the advent of the new permanent residence system, there have been far fewer applicants for permanent residence.
Immigration Department records indicate that more than 350 people have applied for permanent residence status since the law was changed, but hundreds of permanent residence and key employee status applications were approved each quarter prior to the change in the law.