Miller, McLean: No PR for Cayman’s ‘economic migrants’

Two independent opposition MLAs said they oppose granting permanent resident status to long-term Cayman Islands workers who do not have direct family connections to the islands, in comments made during budget debates over the past week.

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller raised the issue June 1 in the context of a legal review of Cayman’s permanent residence approval system. The review began last year after Cayman Islands Chief Justice Anthony Smellie issued a judgment in August that raised numerous questions about how current and previous residency applications were handled. Following Justice Smellie’s ruling, immigration attorney David Ritch was hired by government to review its policies and laws, specifically with regard to the permanent residence application and approval process.

No applications for permanent residence have been approved under the most recent revisions to the Cayman Islands Immigration Law, which took effect in October 2013.

Mr. Miller gave his view of the ongoing immigration issues during his debate on June 1.

“We have the review of the PR provisions in the Immigration Law to ensure non-Caymanians can now stay, get Caymanian status after PR and keep the jobs from qualified Caymanians,” Mr. Miller said.

“Where is the promised immigration reform that was promised to us in October 2013 … which was supposed to tighten up on work permits and [make] other changes that needed to be made to benefit Caymanians? Let me repeat what Ezzard Miller’s position is on this: The only [way] you should be able to get Cayman status is by marriage or descent. I don’t think anybody should be able to come to my country as an economic migrant and get Caymanian status because they’ve made plenty of money,” said Mr. Miller.

In his budget debate Monday, East End MLA Arden McLean said that a distinction should be made in the Immigration Law between granting someone Caymanian status and awarding them “security of tenure.”

Mr. McLean also noted his view that only non-Caymanians who are married to Caymanians or who have family ties to the islands should be allowed to obtain Caymanian status, which is akin to legal “belonger” status in other British Overseas Territories.

Now, any worker who stays in Cayman as a legal resident for at least eight years is allowed to apply for permanent residence – the right to reside in Cayman for the rest of their life. The residency status does not convey any citizenship rights in the U.K. or Caymanian status rights here, both of which must be sought separately and only after qualifying for permanent residence.

Other U.K. territories have also struggled with the issue in recent days, most notably Bermuda, which has not maintained “path to citizenship” legislation for non-Bermudians who have no family ties to the country. Attempts to change the law to allow long-term workers without family ties to Bermuda to seek permanent status were met with protests that included an attempt to blockade the doors of parliament.

Premier Alden McLaughlin has received Mr. Ritch’s report on the review of the permanent residence system and said he would address it later on during the meeting of the Legislative Assembly, which is expected to run through this month.


  1. “We have the review of the PR provisions in the Immigration Law to ensure non-Caymanians can now stay, get Caymanian status after PR and keep the jobs from qualified Caymanians,” Mr. Miller said.
    I don’t think anybody should be able to come to my country as an economic migrant and get Caymanian status because they’ve made plenty of money,” said Mr. Miller.

    Mr. Miller

    I can assure you that isn’t even half the story.

    Try discrimmination in hiring Caymanians in the first place and then discrimmination and harrassment on the job to get them fired so their own nationals can be brought in on work permits, to take the job.

    Try the use of recruitment and employment agencies to bring in foreign workers on temporary contracts and then having those same workers switch jobs to permanent positions for which they were not brought in, or even qualified…many of them into managerial and supervisory positions.

    Try a total lack of promotions and upward career progression in many of the companies and businesses in Cayman, for the nationals of the country in which they are doing business.

    Try the fact that some of them have no money in the first place and want to reside here to make what they could never make in their own country and have the audaucity to complain when they are told…you’ve done your time and have had your chance…time to leave now.

    Try looking into some of the major businesses and companies in Cayman, particularly in the hospitality industry, where there is not even ONE Caymanian in senior management positions but every single nationality, tongue and people from across the globe holding the top jobs and I guarantee, are no better, more educated or qualified than your own Caymanian professional.

    Try the fact that some of your own people are taking up residence in the UK now, as British citizens because we flatly refuse to live under, knuckle under and serve a foreign master in our own country;in by-gone days the word for that was ‘slavery’.

    And slaves some of us flatly refuse to become, in the land in which we were born.

    You two long-serving and worthy MLAs have only touched the tip of the iceburg in your reference to PR and Caymanian status.

    If you really want to help your own people, take a deep long look at the employment and labour situation in your country.

    If you are truly sincere, I guarantee, you will not like what you find happening there.

  2. I wonder how Mr Miller’s family arrived here. How many generations would you have to stay somewhere to be regarded as living in “your” country?

    It is also clear that Mr Miller would be a passionate Donald Trump supporter.

  3. Bob

    Why don’t you ask that question of some of the many nationalities that now work and reside in the Cayman Islands, coming from countries and populations much larger than ours.

    Why don’t you ask them why they don’t wish to return to their own country of origin, after their alloted time to work and make money in Cayman has come to an end ?

    The answers that you might get would be very varied, depending on circumstances but….

    Cayman’s circumstances are that we are a very small country, with a very small population with born nationals who have a right to call this place their home, regardless of how many generations ago their forefathers came here.

    We have mouths to feed, families to care for, children to grow and provide a life, living and careers for, the same as all other nationalities.

    We cannot be expected to care for the world’s poor and needy citizens from other countries….

    And have our own go starving and begging..or not seeing a future in their own country.

    In some countries around the globe right now, wars are being fought over such matters.

  4. Mr Tatum you seem to be falling into the same bucket as Mr Miller, in that anyone being granted status is taking something away from you and yours. Cayman is small, too small if you believe the report that said we needed a population of 100k. Answer me this if you will, how many people are granted status outside of the family association each year, how much money do they contribute, how many jobs do they create through owning and running businesses, and how would kicking them out after 10 or 15 years make life better in Cayman. If you are to believe Mr Miller they are blocking jobs that a qualified Caymanian should have, but that’s exactly what the immigration law is there to cover, they’ve had to demonstrate for 8 years that no-one can do that job. So if that’s not working just fix immigration and leave the status alone, because if immigration is working then you can’t end up with and expat doing a job that can be done by a Caymanian before they apply for status. From personal experience I invested some money in Cayman before getting status as the threat of 2 months to pick up and leave everything was too much to risk everything, after status, I have everything I own here, complete 180. I’m not saying you should sell out just for the economic benefits, but until someone can tell me how many is too many, and what turning off the status tap will do, I can’t see how anyone could follow the suggestion.

  5. I’ve been here over 30 years now, More than half my life. When I arrived there were about 12,000 people living here. Out of that about 3,000 were from overseas.

    I used to joke that my idea of a vacation was going to a big city and sitting in a traffic jam. Now we can all do that right here.
    So I really have no problem with a smaller population and less growth.

    So let’s say that we tell all people working here now on a work permit that they will never be allowed to stay permanently.
    1. None of them would invest in a home here. Why should they? So bang goes the massive amount of stamp duty paid.
    2. You can forget them working for a local charity.
    3. You can forget them donating to local charities too.
    4. Of course they will save their money to send it home and save for a home there. Not spend it locally.
    5. Perhaps the best and nicest people will stop coming altogether. Perhaps the only ones who will come here to work will do so with the intention of making a quick buck and going.
    6. And why on earth should a foreigner invest in starting a business here?


    But will all this create extra jobs for Caymanians, who I 100% AGREE MUST COME FIRST?

    All will it just be a revolving door? One expat goes and another stranger arrives to be trained into a job that the outgoing person knew.

  6. To Mr. Miller and Mr. McLean,

    In regards to those of us who has direct family connections to the islands, like me for instance, my grandfather, granduncles, grandaunts and great grandparents were born Caymanians. I submitted my application along with a sworn in affidavit attesting that my grandfather was a born Caymanian. October of this year will be two years since I submitted that application, after a run around due to every time I went to Immigration I had a different person tellimg me something different.

    I have not heard any response whatsoever on such application, I’ve called and emailed the person in charge of my file, multiple times with every attemp being unsuccessful, so is that fair? Having me wait until the outcome of that application to be able to change my career path if I wanted to, or having to pay for a six months extension, providing police record and blood work every time that six months is renewed, or not being able to make future plans because I don’t know whether or not i’m staying or leaving.

    Only those of us who’s in this same situation knows how frustrating it is to be waiting and not knowing what to do.


  7. Mr. King
    Before I respond directly to your valuable points, let me assure you of one thing.
    I have NEVER supported Cayman’s immigration policies, in their current or original form.
    Why ?

    Because I’ve always considered them short-sighted, momey-driven and discrimminatory…and most of all…inconsistent.
    Neither am I an anti-foreigner bigot.
    To answer your direct question…what we have now is a status grant system that is over-stepping its original remit, which was ill-thought out in the first place, IMO.
    I have never considered that a country’s nationality and pride should be for sale…at any price but what you are getting now is people who came here as workers, whether they took some Caymanian’s potential job or not, who are using time spent alone, as a basis for application of status…which negates the entire issue of time-limited roll-over in the first place.

    If Caymanian status and PR is going to be time-based, then let it be enshrined in the Immigration Law and everyone, applicants and Caymanians, understand that that is the case.

    I based my original opinions on personal knowledge of individuals who have applied for CS/PR who are known and reported abusers of Caymanians in their place of work, being persons in authority.

    It is my opinion that ALL considerations should be taken into account before the important step of granting another nationality a permanent foothold in one’s country is taken….not just time spent, or investments made.

  8. Thank you to all of the respondents to this artile which have extended the topic to one of thoughtful discussion.

    I understand the passion behind each of the writers, and respect what they have to say. However, I feel I must especially commend Mr. Tatum for his response to Mr. King. As I see it, Mr. Tatum points out the ill thought out concept of the Immigration program as a whole. Too bad government with all of its wisdom and resources could not look at other programs and seek competent advice in the first place.

    In MY opinion government should make good on it’s promises to work permit holders to grant them the permanent residency they were promised before they made a life for themselves here, or change the program to only allow short term workers (1-3 years) with no change of any official status. Let the cards fall as they may. That would make things simple, and everyone would know where they stand.

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