PR applicant misses deadline by one day

A permanent residence-seeker had his application to stay in the Cayman Islands for the rest of his life rejected because he missed the filling deadline by a single day, according to claims made in the Grand Court last month.

Maurice Wilson alleges in a Grand Court writ that his application, made on Feb. 13, 2015, and rejected nearly a year later, on Feb. 1, 2016 was denied “as it was noted that the applicant is not eligible as the immigration records show that the applicant applied out of time and beyond the time frame of his 9th year of legal and ordinary residence.”

It was determined that the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board therefore had no jurisdiction to deal with Mr. Wilson’s application.

It is argued in the lawsuit filed on March 22 that the “error” which occurred in filing late was not the fault of the applicant.

“A fair hearing … could have addressed the issue of why [Mr. Wilson] was one day out of time, thus supporting documents would have been provided for clarifications,” the court records state. “[Mr. Wilson] was not permitted to explain in a separate letter and provide proof of why his application was filed a day late which shows error on the part of the board [and] could have been corrected in short order.”

The application requests that the board’s decision to refuse permanent residence for Mr. Wilson be reconsidered and that he be allowed to remain in Cayman while that process plays out.

Since the Immigration Law changed as of Oct. 26, 2013, up through February of this year, a total of 15 residence applications – including Mr. Wilson’s – have been refused simply because of legal difficulties, mostly due to late filings.

Ministry of Home Affairs chief officer Eric Bush has explained that, under the rewritten law, permanent residence applications must be filed only after a person has gone past eight years of continuous residence in the islands.

However, the application has to be filed before that individual reaches nine years of continuous residence. At nine years, if the application has not been filed, the person would have to depart Cayman for at least a year prior to returning to work.

Of the 638 permanent residence applications filed between October 2013 and February 2016, another 12 were outright refused by the board. Those applications were denied during 2013-2014.

Last year, no permanent residence applications were either approved or denied by the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board. One person withdrew their application during 2015.

Premier Alden McLaughlin’s office has commissioned a consultant’s report to examine several issues related to how permanent residence in Cayman is granted and how the boards responsible for hearing those applications handle their business. That consultant report was expected to be completed this spring, but further immigration reform proposals have not appeared on the Progressives-led government’s agenda.