Under threat of legal action, the first two permanent residence applications filed under the current iteration of the Cayman Islands Immigration Law were approved this week, the Cayman Compass has learned.
The residence applications filed in December 2013 and June 2014, were among the 900-1,000 applications awaiting a hearing by either the Immigration Department or the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board.
The applicants, financial services manager Mark Edmunds and accountant Derek Larner, had both filed for judicial review against what they alleged was an unfair, unreasonable and unlawful decision by the government to delay a decision on their residency status indefinitely.
A court hearing on those requests for judicial review proceeded Friday morning, but apparently both applicants had received their respective grants of permanent residence the previous day.
“We received formal confirmation of Thursday’s grants only after [Friday’s] hearing when we made telephone enquiries of the [immigration] secretariat,” according to HSM Chambers partner Nicolas Joseph, who represented the two men in the matter. Mr. Joseph informed HSM clients of the decision in an email sent out Friday morning.
The two men, as well as local accountant Bradley Carpenter, who filed a judicial review application last year as well, could still pursue cases against the government for damages relative to the delay. Their attorneys were uncertain on Friday as to which path they might take.
Mr. Joseph said it appeared the new grants would be a positive development for the hundreds of other people awaiting word on their residency status in Cayman.
“It is now hoped that the processing of applications will now commence in earnest,” he wrote. “We have written to the authorities for an indication of anticipated timing and they have responded by return that the department will commence processing of other applications very shortly.
“Congratulations are due not only to the trail-blazers whose commitment to these Islands and due process compelled them to seek appropriate resolution through the courts, but also to the immigration authorities who now find themselves able to grapple the issues before them. It is expected that many of you (and others) will benefit from the actions of those amongst you who were prepared to make the challenge.”