New agency to develop labor and handle work permits

Goal is to achieve full Caymanian employment

Sharon Roulstone

Beginning next year, a new governmental department will take on the administration of issues involving immigration and workforce development.

The government announced Friday that the new department will be named Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman, known as WORC.

It will focus on restructuring the labor market in the Cayman Islands, with the goal of  achieving full employment for Caymanians and a competitive business community, according to a government press release.

In addition to providing training, internship, apprenticeships and partnerships with private sector businesses for Caymanian workers, the department will also process applications for work permits, permanent residency and Caymanian status.

Sharon Roulstone, interim director of the agency, said the new department will be able to better connect businesses with the workers they need, identify gaps in the labor market and help to train new workers to fill those gaps.

“With WORC, we are redesigning how employment and workforce development in the Cayman Islands is managed, with a focus on two inter-related elements: full Caymanian employment and a well-supplied business community that is globally competitive,” she said in the press release.

“This is not simply a merger of the Department of Immigration and the National Workforce Development Agency, it is entirely brand new,” she added.

Ms. Roulstone was seconded from her role as deputy ombudsman to head up the newly formed department.

Premier and Minister for Human Resources and Immigration Alden McLaughlin said he expects the WORC department to improve the lot of working Caymanians.

“Through this reform initiative, our objective is to ensure all Caymanians successfully attain employment, where every Caymanian who is able, willing and qualified to work has a job,” Mr. McLaughlin was quoted as saying in the press release. “We plan to continue our progress forward leaving no one behind.”

The change process to develop WORC is in progress with completion scheduled for summer 2019.