Following a recent corruption investigation and trial, the Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman office has decided to move language proficiency testing for applicants from non-English-speaking countries to outside agencies.
WORC officials announced Thursday that it will no longer administer such tests as of 14 Oct.
In February, five immigration officers were convicted in an anti-corruption trial. They were accused of boosting the scores of Spanish-speaking applicants so those applicants could pass the test. The applicants were each charged $600 in the scheme.
Three of the immigration officers, along with a civilian, were convicted of conspiracy. Two officers were convicted of failing to report a bribe.
Rose Ritch, compliance manager for WORC, said, “The recent arrest of employees by the anti-corruption commission was a considered factor in this decision, in conjunction with the restructuring of the department and re-engineering of business processes.”
The Cayman Islands government requires immigrant workers to have a basic understanding of English to “ensure they are able to perform their work duties effectively, administer themselves and their families, and assimilate quickly into the community.”
Historically, the office has done its testing in-house.
Recently, said Ritch, the department “began accepting test results from … international test providers. However, the accepted passing grade was at a higher level, which proved difficult to achieve by many. The current accepted grading (A2) is more in sync with the department’s requirement.”
Officials said they will accept test results from either International English Language Test Systems or the Test of English for International Communication. Both have global providers. In Cayman, Modern Business Solutions offers the TOEIC exam. The cost is $125 for applicants.