Government expects increase in work permits

The Cayman Islands Immigration Department is expecting an increase in temporary and full-time work permits for non-Caymanian employees over the next year, according to records for the upcoming 2016/17 budget.

The department estimated it had processed between 20,000 and 30,000 temporary and full-year grants and work permit renewals in the previous 12 months.

According to budget records, during 12 months of the next 18-month government budget cycle, processing is expected to increase to between 22,000 and 32,000 permits.

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller questioned whether the 2,000 additional permits foreseen by the government in the next year represent a “policy” of the Progressives-led government.

“The government has … for quite some years, a policy of granting work permits,” Finance Minister Marco Archer said. “A projected number of 2,000 work permits [increase] does not translate into a government policy.”

The government receives approximately $90 million a year from levying various immigration-related fees, most of which comes from businesses that employ work permit holders.

Mr. Miller said the additional 2,000 work permits would translate to an extra $6.9 million annually for the government.

The North Side MLA said that the last time a survey was taken on the topic, more than 1,500 Caymanians were unemployed.

“Where, then, is the demand for the 2,000 permits [stated] in the budget?” Mr. Miller said. “The only [way] to bring people in on permit in that scenario is to take jobs that people already have and give them to a non-Caymanian on work permit.”

Premier Alden McLaughlin said Monday that Mr. Miller was proceeding “on a completely false premise.”

“[The additional work permits] is a consequence of the government policy which is about economic growth and creating economic opportunities and employment,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “The business community is responding to government’s policies by expanding their businesses and hiring more people. Part of the consequence of that is more work permits and more work permit revenues.

“The member [referring to Mr. Miller] proceeds on the basis that clamping down on work permits will create economic opportunities for Caymanians.

“It is a completely fallacious premise and one that would have disastrous consequences for this country if we were to pursue it,” the premier said.

According to government revenue estimates, the Cayman Islands also expects to double its earnings from the granting of permanent residence applications during the next budget period.

During the 12 months of the 2015/16 budget year, it was estimated that Cayman took in $10 million from annual permanent resident fees. In the 18 months covered by the 2016/17 budget, the government expects to receive $20 million.

The government has not approved any grants of permanent residence under the revised Immigration Law since it took effect in October 2013. Immigration officials have not responded to questions about why they expect the large increase in permanent residence fees over the next 18 months.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. “[The additional work permits] is a consequence of the government policy which is about economic growth and creating economic opportunities and employment,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “The business community is responding to government’s policies by expanding their businesses and hiring more people. Part of the consequence of that is more work permits and more work permit revenues.

    Is this man for real ?

    What comes first, the carriage or the horse ?

    We’ve all been under the notion that it was business needs and expansion that drives the needs for more work-permit immigrants into Cayman

    Now we are being told that it is the Govt’s policy to grant unlimited permits for revenue purposes that is driving business expansion ?

    In that case, flooding Cayman with an unlimited number of work permit immigrants is seen as a short-term method of population expansion to drive business momentum and growth ?

    And fill the Govt’s coffers in the process ?

    And what of the other considerations of a non-economic nature that ensues from importing a mass of economic migrants of short-term nature into Cayman, an already small country with limited resources ?

    And the 1, 500 or more out-of-work Caymanians ?

    Is anything being done to ensure that any of these so-called jobs for which permits will be issued be offered to these Caymanians if they are qualified and willing to take them ?

    You talk about selling your birthright for a mess of pottage ?

    This current CI Govt must be the only one in the history of the country which views the Cayman Islands through the lens of the dollar sign and the dollar sign only

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  2. Well said Ricardo , and I think that it’s time to give them politicians a step ladder to get them down of that high horse they are riding. They are doing no work for the huge salary they get .
    That’s why they can only see $$$ .
    The premier needs to stop reading out of President Obama play book, he said that the private sector don’t create jobs , his government and stimulus money created jobs .

    I think it is very sad to hear about all of the things that these politicians are doing and over looking that they shouldn’t be doing , but wasting money on them .

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  3. Mr. Ebanks

    Unless something is missing in the translation, what we are reading here between the lines is that…

    Mr. McLaughlin and his Government are only seeing the bottom line of increased business profits and govt. revenues.

    They are not seeing that more customers and service users also creates…

    More garbage, more road congestion, more users of already stretched school, medical and emergency services etc etc.

    Every single problem that the independent MLAs are bringing up to the country as being told to them by their constituents is being trumpeted as wrong by Mr. McLaughlin and his only answer is ‘ we only care about money and business expansion’.

    So we are collecting more immigration problems with illegal work permit users and illegal labour, more garbage on Mount Thrashmore about which absolutely nothing has been done by his Govt., more potholes in the roads which aren’t being fixed, more un-paid Govt. medical bills…and the list goes on.

    We could have more faith if Mr. McLaughlin at least acknowledged the concerns of the citizens of the country and made promises to look into them but…

    All we are getting from him is haughty, arrogant dismissal.

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