I wish to explore an idea. This is an idea that favors the law abiding “everyday” class of people. This “PR in principle” idea is for the middle-class family or individual who comes to our shores; falls in love with our islands and our way of life; and wants to become an integral part of it; yet is not rich or of independent financial means.
Currently, all persons who reach eight years of legal ordinary residence in the Cayman Islands are eligible to apply for Permanent Residence. Then the applicant is subjected to a process (points earned for various identified parts; with a total of 110 points or more assuring the applicant of a grant).
My idea uses this legal process but sort of “fast forwards” the clock. What about if a small governmental department was created for the purpose of receiving applications early; say after four years of being ordinarily a legal resident? This application would be simple yet carry some weight and direction. Here is how I envisage it happening and also how I think it would be beneficial to both the applicant and the local economy.
Firstly; how it would benefit the applicant, who would have already been ordinarily a legal resident on the island; either by being the holder of a valid work permit or on a government contract. The applicant would complete a prescribed form that would ask various questions and seek certain documents to support some of the answers given by the applicant. A small fee could be attached by the responsible government department charged (most likely it will remain with the Immigration Department) that would serve to further boost government’s central revenue stream. However, revenue generation would not be the main thrust of this exercise nor of this process. What it would seek to do, is to allow the applicant to “test themselves” and to receive back from the designated governmental department a formal letter; call it an “green light”; that would be a way shower.
This letter would indicate and confirm to the applicant that should they continue on the path that they are currently pursuing, their chances of obtaining full Permanent Residence after their completion of eight years of legal residence is very strong. This simple process would identify from early on if this applicant individual really wants to be a part of our culture and our way of life. The process would enable the applicant individual to get good, reliable and independent feedback from an established governmental body as to how they are doing. It will put that feeling of comfort and assurance in their belly and allow the applicant individual to better decide from early whether to invest in real property in the islands.
It is one of my personal positions that anyone who has been here for four years should have some indication on where they stand relative to their long-term tenure within these beloved Cayman Islands. After all, why purchase land, a home or invest in the country in other ways that would serve to stimulate the local economy if you are asked to leave four years later? Some degree of security must be available to the average law-abiding and hard-working legal resident. I say that after four years of being an ordinary legal resident; the country should be willing and able to extend their hand of inclusion and friendship and say “keep this up and we want you!”
Secondly, it will not only serve to further boost government’s revenue generation; but more importantly; allow and even encourage the applicant to take proactive action to perhaps realize the sale of a property in their home country and then use those sale proceeds to fuel economic growth in our own islands’ economy by purchasing a home or property here. This not only fuels solid economic growth potential but also serves as a real testament to the authorities that a particular applicant individual (or family unit) is/are indeed serious about becoming a part of our social fabric. And this is something that would be identified from early on as the PR in principle process would start once the person has completed four years of being an ordinary legal resident.
In my mind, it would set the applicant individual (or family unit) free from unnecessary doubts and fears as to “what their chances will be” and would also enlighten the applicant individual that should he/she/they; continue being law-abiding; continue being involved in our society; continue reflecting that “CaymanKind” spirit and attitude; that upon their formal application after eight years of legal residency that their chances of obtaining full PR is fairly assured.
Because my firm view is that we have many good and decent people in our midst who are neither rich nor of independent financial means, and should we find a way to work along with them and in the process give them that “comforting feeling at the bottom of their bellies” that we would have achieved a “win-win” situation that we all can be justly proud of.
Indeed, it is also another of my personal positions that anyone that has been here for eight or nine years as an ordinary legal resident, has inculcated themselves into our culture; has been active within our civic society; has shown; by consistent and diligent application of their mannerisms and has shown that they really want to make these islands their home; and has no criminal record … should get Permanent Residency as a matter of right and forgo all the ridiculous hassle and subjectivity that now ensues.
In the end, I have always found that good people are not the loudest or the richest; but the “little man” who is humble enough to be a vibrant and integral part of our social fabric but just needs to know that we, too, want them to become a part of us.
George R. Ebanks