PR application, appeal take eight years

A man whose application for permanent residence took more than eight years from the date it was filed to when it was rejected by an appeals body has sued the Cayman Islands government, seeking re-consideration of the case.

In a Grand Court writ filed late last month, Glendon Frederick Locke says his initial application to the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board was made on Jan. 16, 2007. The board denied the application on Feb. 5, 2009.

According to the writ, it wasn’t until April 29, 2015 that the Immigration Appeals Tribunal issued a letter stating the appeal had been refused.

“This is an application submitted in 2007 which has finally been determined in 2015,” the Grand Court claim states. “The delay in the resolution of this application has caused the applicant prejudice.”

Mr. Locke also claims there was evidence he presented regarding a business ownership that should have been considered by the board and the tribunal.

The length of time various immigration application cases have taken to be resolved was noted by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie in a landmark decision in August that questioned a number of areas in the Immigration Law and regulatory procedures, both past and present.

Justice Smellie described “unconscionably long delays” in hearing one of the cases noted in the August judgment. An applicant for permanent residence in that case, Michelle Hutchinson-Green, submitted her application in November 2006 and was rejected by the appeals tribunal seven years later in October 2013. During that period, the Immigration Law was amended more than 10 times, the judgment stated.

Following the ruling, a number of other legal challenges were filed regarding other adverse decisions on permanent residence applications. In two of those filings from October, the applicants alleged the various boards involved either used unsanctioned scoring methods in determining their cases or simply didn’t tell them the reasons for the board’s decision.

“Full disclosure” will likely have to become the order of the day for immigration-related board decisions, local immigration attorney Nicolas Joseph said.

“The expectations of heightened standards of scrutiny in considering any matter which might have a human rights element will mean that anything short of full disclosure of all relevant materials relied upon by a decision-maker in such a manner as would entitle an applicant to understand the basis on which they are assessed,” Mr. Joseph said. “Any failure to do so would likely face a successful challenge.”

The government is in the process of a consultant’s review of its immigration system, particularly with regard to the granting of permanent residence.

Law firm Ritch & Conolly has been retained to assist the government in analyzing both the current permanent residence points system and the PR appeals process.

The firm’s senior partner, David Ritch, is a former chairman of the government’s Work Permit Board and was one of the government’s key advisers in the establishment of the territory’s current Immigration Law, which introduced the term limit or “rollover” policy for non-Caymanian workers.

Mr. Ritch has said he does not expect to complete his work until sometime in the new year.

Premier Alden McLaughlin described the review as a “forward-looking exercise” aimed at reviewing the lawfulness and fairness of any decision related to current applications for permanent residence and appeals involving PR applications.

The review seeks to provide advice to government in these matters “on an urgent basis,” the premier’s office said.

The statement alluded to the possibility that the review could result in further delays of current permanent residence applications, hundreds of which have been pending since government changed the Immigration Law in October 2013.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Being a decision maker on CS and PR board is a task full of stress; however I must say the immigration staff and member of these boards, are very professional and knowledgeable. Every T must me crossed and every I dotted. Can’t blame them really.
    Concerning the person who has experienced a denial, and then lengthy drag out of their appeal, there must be more to this than we know.
    I also agree that a full disclosure in writing can be considered on immigration-related board decisions. There is no sense in hiding what objective information which has led to denials.

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  2. The government needs to seriously take a look at the whole PR system and process. There is no reason why anyone should be waiting eight years for a final decision. If it is a situation that the economic outlook for the country is such that we should not be taking on any more residents then there needs to be strict enforcement of the rollover policy.

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  3. Another "small thing" to consider and I’m using very rough figures here: approximately 500 people since 2013 with applications in @ approximately $10,000 per application (including fees for first year which are paid in advance) means $5,000,000 worth of fees in the government coffers with the majority of which having been paid 2 years ago. $1,000 per application is non refundable so as it stands the government has a loan of about $4,500,000 interest free. The big question is has it been spent already: can it be refunded if PR is not granted?

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  4. So why is it that people apply for PR anyway ? Outside of income taxes if you work, What are the benefits of giving up citizenship in your own country to become a Caymanian Citizen..It’s not like you’ll be recognized as anything other than driftwood or maybe a paper Caymanian anyway and that’s only if you have enough money to throw around.

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  5. While the government reviews the appeals process is there any reason why they should not process applications that are clearly successful? Surely someone who has sufficient points even without the priority occupation can be approved as they are hardly likely to appeal there own approval!

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  6. @Michael Davis
    If one is from the USA or the UK, may be Canada avoiding paying income taxes is one huge benefit, but there is a downside. At least if you are from the USA. If for some reason you return to the states, becoming ill for example and not being able to keep a job in the Cayman Islands one needs to be aware that SS coverage will lapse after a certain amount of time if you stop paying FICA taxes into the Social Security system. It don’t matter if one is his 20s or 30s and healthy, disease can strike unexpectedly at any age. So plan accordingly.
    For other people from economically disadvantaged countries such as Ukraine,Bulgaria, Cuba or Philippines for example, it probably make sense.

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  7. I see and agree Ms Bell, coming from the US but being very near the age of retirement Income tax will not be a concern. I can personally see no benefit in pursuing PR when I can land for up to six months at a time, not to mention that as you brought up if I get sick or become short on cash PR will most likely be revoked and I will be sent packing and an undesirable this is one of the biggest reason to maintain allegiance and a home in your own country. Cayman is not really going to offer you anything truly permanent unless your pockets are deep enough to pay your way in..

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  8. Expats from the USA must know what is the date last insured(DLI). It is the last date that an individual is eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
    If you worked (paid FICA taxes) your whole life and then stopped, your DLI depends on the date you stopped paying FICA taxes.
    For instance, if you stopped paying FICA taxes five years ago, your DLI would be today. If you stopped paying FICA taxes until four years ago, your DLI would be one year from now.
    So you stopped paying FICA taxes more than 5 years ago (obviously!), your PR application is denied, you go back to the sates. Or you get sick, can’t work, your employment is terminated, you move back to the states. Should you become disabled after DLI, you are screwed. Keep that in mind.

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