The Cayman Islands Immigration Department has identified four overstayers so far during its August amnesty period, including one individual who turned up at Owen Roberts International Airport with a plane ticket to depart.
According to immigration officers, one person who was already wanted for overstaying turned himself in. Another two individuals that immigration were not aware of called to report themselves to authorities.
The amnesty period began on Aug. 1 and will end Aug. 31 at 3 p.m.
Typically, immigration amnesties focus on the specific offenses of overstaying and working without a valid permit. However, local employers can also turn in workers who are here illegally without risk of being prosecuted.
Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith said that during the amnesty period, people who reside in Cayman and who are unsure of their immigration status have the opportunity to attend the Immigration Department where checks will be carried out without fear of being arrested.
The amnesty also includes workers who have reached the end of their term limit, but who have not left the islands, or visitors who have not received an extension to remain beyond their authorized time.
“I strongly urge those persons who are not compliant with the Immigration Law, to quickly utilise the time they have before being identified and subsequently arrested,” Mr. Smith said in an announcement of the amnesty on Aug. 1. “Those who forego the opportunity and do not depart voluntarily can expect the full weight of the Law to be applied as a consequence.”
The last time the Immigration Department attempted an amnesty was in mid-2010, during which time more than 40 people – ranging in age from six months to 80 years – were deported from the islands.
At the time, immigration officials were concerned about so-called “work permits of convenience” – those for individuals who have irregular or no work offered by the permit holder.
The Immigration Department reported that 336 people were arrested between July 2016 and November 2017 for the offense of overstaying or assisting another person to overstay.