The first foreign national to take advantage of this month’s amnesty offered by the Immigration Department was a man who had overstayed by 10 years.

The man presented himself to immigration authorities and asked to take advantage of the amnesty that was announced late Tuesday, July 31, to start at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 1.

He wanted to leave Grand Cayman on Saturday, Aug. 4, and would have been allowed to do so except for one thing – records showed that he had an outstanding traffic fine of $300.

An immigration officer accompanied the man to Summary Court late Friday to see what could be done so that the man could leave as planned.

Magistrate Valdis Foldats said he did not have the ability to change the sentence. What he could do, he said, was extend the time to pay the fine and release the man if he could provide a local surety. He explained that the local surety would have to guarantee that the fine would be paid by Sept. 28. That person would have to come to court and sign before the man could leave.

The man indicated he did have someone who would sign for him.

The magistrate asked how the amnesty was working and the officer replied that this defendant was the first one.

The magistrate thanked the man for coming forward and urged him to contact his friends, tell them about the amnesty and spread the word to everyone he knew.

As announced by Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith, the amnesty will remain in effect until Aug. 31, 2018, at 3 p.m.

In the case of the four scenarios listed below, the foreign national is expected to leave the Cayman Islands during the amnesty period, which can be done without fear of prosecution:

Individuals who are residing illegally in the Cayman Islands, that is, individuals without a valid work permit or any other lawful permission to remain in the islands.

Employers may cancel work permits for employees for whom they have no work.

Employees who are employed on a valid work permit, but whose employers no longer have full-time employment for them may cancel their work permit.

Workers who are not working for the employer named on their work permit will be allowed the opportunity to depart voluntarily.

Mr. Smith said that people who are residing in Cayman who are unsure of their immigration status have the opportunity to attend the Immigration Department, where checks will be carried out to determine their legality.

He added that the amnesty includes such individuals/workers who have reached the end of their term limit but who have not left the islands, and also people visiting Cayman and who have not sought a visitor’s extension to remain beyond the time authorized upon arrival.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now