Hiring starts for new government HR agency

The new government agency that will take charge of issuing work permits for Cayman’s more than 25,000 foreign employees is now hiring for three senior management positions, paying between $80,000 and $109,000 per year, according to advertisements that went out last week.

The job descriptions indicate that the Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman agency will be responsible for at least some law enforcement duties as well as the administration of Cayman’s immigration permit regime.

The WORC agency will eventually replace all of the administrative permitting functions now handled by the Immigration Department, as well as the human resources/job training activities of the National Workforce Development Agency. It is led by local attorney Sharon Roulstone, who serves an interim director.

The agency’s deputy director for compliance is charged with ensuring decisions made by WORC administrators on work permits, business staffing plans, permanent residence and Caymanian status applications are in line with current Immigration Law.

The deputy director for compliance will also be responsible for “proactive and directed investigations” which includes preparing any criminal cases for review by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

There is a law enforcement element left to the remainder of the Immigration Department involving border protection that will be merged with Her Majesty’s Customs service by next year. However, the WORC agency will be responsible for all matters related to work permits and job advertising.

According to recently proposed amendments to the Cayman Islands Immigration Law, the WORC agency will have equal legal standing to the Immigration Department to investigate permit-related matters.

Ms. Roulstone will “share certain powers with the chief immigration officer until further notice,” the bill states.

While the WORC director will maintain the same legal power regarding the administration of immigration permits, she will not have the power of the immigration chief in law enforcement areas handled by the department, including entry and landing in the islands, asylum and deportation proceedings, according to the Immigration Amendment Bill that lawmakers are expected to consider later this month.

The other two deputy director positions at WORC will focus on labor needs and supply, and finance and administration.

The deputy director for needs and supply’s task is to “develop the labor market demand assessment function that would assess industry current and future labor needs.” The position will also help develop training programs to match Caymanian job-seekers with the skills needed for available positions.

This deputy director position will also be responsible for the facilitation of work permits and permanent residence.

Premier Alden McLaughlin has said the idea here is to join up the work placement functions handled by the National Workforce Development Agency with the permit functions of the Immigration Department.

“I am very serious about my government’s determination to give every Caymanian who is willing, able and qualified to work the opportunity to do so,” Mr. McLaughlin said during a speech earlier this year to the Cayman Economic Outlook conference. “To ensure that qualified and experienced Caymanians are not being wrongly overlooked for promotion, we will strengthen the business staffing plan regime to ensure that commitments given by employers with respect to the hiring, training and promotion of Caymanian employees are being fulfilled.”

The deputy director for finance and administration will be in charge of customer service, accounting and financial management systems.

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