Cayman cuts permit fees for hurricane evacuees

People walk next to a gas station flooded and damaged by the impact of Hurricane Maria, which hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday. For more on the storm, see page 2. - PHOTO: AP

Hurricane evacuees who have come to Cayman from the British Virgin Islands and other eastern Caribbean financial services centers can receive reduced-price or even free temporary work permits, after their initial permission to stay on island has expired.

About 170 evacuees were known to be in Cayman last week as a result of their companies in the eastern Caribbean and Miami, Florida relocating them while offices in their home countries or territories are repaired.

They were initially given 60-day visitors permits, and can apply for temporary work permits after that permission expires.

The Immigration Department confirmed that application fees for attorneys and accountants from those companies would be reduced by 75 percent for a three-month temporary permit and by 50 percent for a six-month temporary permit.

Other categories of workers will be capped at $615 for a three-month permit and $1,230 for a six-month permit.

Anyone relocated to Cayman Brac or Little Cayman will pay no fees during the storm recovery period.

Immigration officials said the temporary permits granted under the “humanitarian response measure” are restricted to offshore work performed for clients in the hurricane-impacted jurisdictions, so for example, BVI attorneys would service BVI clients. The influx of new workers would not affect local staff, Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith said.

“If a work permit or an extension is needed past the maximum allotment of six months, the normal Immigration Law requirements will be followed, such as advertising for the position to help ensure Caymanian workers are given the opportunity to fill long term positions,” Mr. Smith said.

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