LEGALLY SPEAKING: Permanent residency appeals have a fighting chance

by Nick Joseph and Alastair David

Appeals of permanent residence refusals tend to have a better chance of success than often realised.

A number of people have successfully challenged an initial denial of a grant of permanent residence. These include two women who have called Cayman home for more than 20 years.

Many successful appellants believed their odds to be small, and often found the hurdles in their way insurmountable. Their belief, sometimes stemming from a large amount of misinformation, has been that they stand no chance. But the reality is that the commitments to fairness and the rule of law prevail.

With those principles on their side, the reality for many is that their goal of wishing to stay in the Cayman Islands is, in fact, attainable or, at least, not nearly as hard to achieve as many have been led to believe.

Six years after the commencement of the new permanent residence points system, three years after the cases of Michelle Hutchinson-Green and Alisha Racz, and two years after defects in the system were “fixed”, aspects of the PR system remain so fraught with inconsistency, irrationality and opacity, as to most often fall short in operation.

The result is that almost anyone disappointed by the result of their PR application can appeal and, if they do, will almost certainly be able to point out the flaws in the original decision, leading to an overturning of the denial.

Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman will undoubtedly address the ongoing uncertainties.

With resolution of these matters, the number and extent of challenges to permanent residency refusals will lessen, but with approximately 40 current appeals and counting in our office alone, many of the fixes, when they come, will be too late to avoid the consequences of now longstanding issues.

Until the system can be operated in a manner compliant with all legal expectations, most who challenge adverse determinations will be successful.

Nick Joseph is a partner and Alastair David an associate at HSM.