Seventy people have applied to join Cayman’s Global Citizen Concierge programme, which would allow them to live and work remotely here for up to two years. As of Wednesday, one application had been approved.
Director of Tourism Rosa Harris, speaking at a Cayman Islands Tourism Association forum on Wednesday afternoon, said a total of 32 applications had been received, and more were expected, based on the level of interest the programme’s website was garnering. As applications can include spouses and children, the total number of people included in current applications is 70.
Asked by a CITA member at the forum if the money and resources put into promoting this programme by the government was worth it, with only one approved out of 32 applications, Harris responded that, to get an idea of the spending power of the applicants, she wanted to let the audience know that they would be arriving in Cayman by private jet.
“Our household income for an individual [applying for the programme] is at US$100,000 because our average household income annually for our visitor profile is roughly US$150,000, and it’s already proven that it’s scaling much higher in terms of affluence for Global Citizen [applicants],” she said.
Harris said there had been much interest in the initiative overseas, especially in the US, UK and Canada, noting that 12,000 people had visited its webpage, with 49,000 page views recorded.
In addition, 2,700 people had viewed the site’s online application form. The digital nomad programme had also been featured, she said, in 242 media outlets around the world.
She said she hoped that at least 100 people would end up being approved for Global Citizen status, as well as their dependents and spouses, who would be high-net-worth visitors. Although they would be unlikely to stay at hotels, she added, they would frequent local restaurants and retail shops.
She said it takes between 15 and 19 days for an application to reach the approval stage “but that will definitely shrink”. The approval process involves many steps, Harris said, including submitting bank and income details, and several agencies – including Customs and Border Control and Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman – were involved in carrying out background checks and verifying information.
Under the requirements of the programme, applicants must earn a minimum income of US$100,000 annually if applying as an individual, or US$150,000 annually if applying with an accompanying spouse or civil partner. If the applicant has dependents, that minimum income increases to US$180,000.
They also must provide proof of health insurance cover and pay a non-refundable annual fee of $1,469 for up to two people, with an additional $500 yearly per dependent.
Harris said some applicants had also expressed interest in bringing personal assistants or nannies with them.
Several other countries in the region have also launched digital nomad programmes, including Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, and Bermuda.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that applications had arrived by private jet. This version clarifies that applicants would be arriving by private jet.