A woman who waited so long for a decision on her permanent residence application that her son became Caymanian during the delay period is one of six people recently granted residency. She applied more than four years ago.
The six applicants sought permission to remain in Cayman for the rest of their lives before the rewritten Immigration Law took effect in October 2013. They all were denied under the former residency system that required applicants to obtain 100 points, rather than the 110 needed for applicants in the current law.
Although the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board initially denied the six applications, they were reviewed recently by the Immigration Appeals Tribunal and granted residency.
According to attorneys at HSM Chambers, who represented the appellants, all six applications were approved with well more than the required 100 points.
In one case, a woman who applied before October 2013 was awarded 137 points, after her initial application was given just 89 points by the board.
Large discrepancies were seen in the other applications, according to HSM partner Nick Joseph. One applicant who received 62 points in the initial review by the board got 119 points when judged by the tribunal. Another who received 92 points when heard before the board received 152 on appeal.
“We can only assume that errors have been made along the way and be grateful that an independent and effective appeals mechanism exists to correct such errors and provide a solution to any injustice,” Mr. Joseph said in response to Cayman Compass questions on the matter.
Mr. Joseph gave the example of one of the six applicants whose child received Caymanian status after their father was granted Caymanian status, while the mother had still not even received word on her residency application.
The close Caymanian relationship between child and the mother would have resulted in the woman getting an extra 40 points on her residency application.
The issue serves to illustrate the potential consequences of years-long delays in residency bids.
Those delays continued until earlier this year when a series of lawsuits over permanent residence applications essentially forced government’s hand in hearing more-recently filed applications. Before that, many applicants had waited two and a half years for word on their respective fates.
“All of this emphasizes the need for lawful, transparent and rational systems which can be relied on to provide the right answer … the first time,” Mr. Joseph said. “It also perhaps emphasizes … the potential unintended consequences of delay.”
The Cayman Islands government still has more than 800 residency applications to process, but Premier Alden McLaughlin said recently that government officials and appointed board members are making good progress in handling the backlog.
“I don’t think we’ll ever reach a point when there are zero applications in the queue,” Mr. McLaughlin said. ”The overriding issue was to deal with the long-standing applications that were there. I think the situation is well under control.”
Mr. Joseph concurred with the premier’s remarks this week.
“Credit is due for a large amount of exceptional work being undertaken,” he said.