Cayman Islands residents who applied to live in the British territory permanently nearly four years ago were advised this week that their applications would soon be reviewed.
Notices were sent out from the Immigration Department this week to those applicants who applied for permanent residence following the change in the Immigration Law in October 2013. The emails advised all of those individuals to provide updated information they “deem to be crucial to [the] application.”
“Please indicate whether (a) you intend to provide updated information or (b) whether you wish the application to be considered as it stands currently,” the email read.
The Immigration Department previously announced that all applicants for permanent residence, or their legal or business representatives, would be contacted to provide an “update” to those records before the applications are heard by the board. Once that update is provided, the department indicated, the board would do its best to hear their application within the next 30 days.
Immigration advisers noted last week that it is important for people to make application information as current as possible, particularly if individuals have not done so since their applications were filed. Applicants from late 2013 who recently filed updates could have their cases heard by next week, the board indicated.
Residence applications will be heard in the order in which they were received, so applicants who filed in October 2013 would be first, followed by November 2013 and so on.
The Immigration Department advised applicants who are updating their permanent residence documents to wait until they are contacted by government representatives. If the updates are filed too early, the information may be out of date by the time the application is considered by the board, officials said.
HSM Chambers law firm partner Nicolas Joseph said he viewed the receipt of the notice by some of his clients from the Immigration Department as an “extremely positive development” that long-dormant residence applications were now being considered.
“We … are encouraged by the 15-day response time requested, as it is indicative of a desire to press forward with all possible and appropriate haste.” Mr. Joseph wrote to the firm’s clients on Tuesday.
Mr. Joseph said the law firm asked about the status of applications filed during 2014 and beyond, but immigration officials indicated they could provide no timeline regarding those later cases.
“Nevertheless, it is clear that significant time, resources and attention is being given to the issue,” he said.
Between 900 and 1,000 applications for permanent residence have been filed since late October 2013 and most have not been heard due to protracted legal and technical difficulties. Premier Alden McLaughlin announced that hearings on the applications will begin this week.
The government was under pressure from at least one local law firm representing a number of permanent residence-seekers, as it sought to organize a class action claim against government on behalf of a number of applicants who’ve been waiting years for their cases to be heard. Thus far, the only two long-time Cayman residents to have been granted PR under the current law have filed legal actions against the government.