Part IV – Permanent Residence
Residential Certificate for Entrepreneurs and Investors
It is proposed that this category of residence be abolished. Since the coming into effect of the Immigration Law, 2003 in January 2004 there have been no successful applications. This is due mainly to the very strict criteria to be satisfied and it is considered that any lowering of the criteria would attract abuse of the category.
Residential Certificate for Persons of Independent Means
It is proposed that the residence category of ‘Residential Certificate for Retirees’ in the Immigration Law, 2003 be replaced by ‘Residential Certificate for Persons of Independent Means’.
The reason for the proposed change in title is due to changes in the requirements. The principal law is to be amended to remove both the qualifying age limit of 55 years and the present prohibition on dependants under the age of eighteen years. These proposed changes recognise that persons are now retiring at a much younger age and that it is likely that such retirees may have children who are minors.
Although the principal law gives the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board discretion to allow persons under the age of fifty-five to apply for a Residential Certificate for Retirees it was recognised that the two-stage process of having to apply first to the Board if the applicant was under the age of 55 and then to the Chief Immigration Officer was unnecessarily cumbersome. The relaxation of the requirements for this category of residence will, it is hoped, attract increased investment in the Islands due to the fact that the category has removed the minimum qualifying age. A person granted a Residential Certificate for Persons of Independent Means and any dependants approved by the Board to be included with the grant will still not be allowed to work. A right of a dependant child to reside in the Islands will also cease (as is the case in the principal law) upon completion of his full-time tertiary education or when he reaches the age of twenty-four years, whichever happens earlier.
It is also proposed that the Chief Immigration Officer be granted the power to vary a Residential Certificate for Persons of Independent Means in certain circumstances to add or delete dependent children. Dependent children who were listed in the original application for the Certificate who have attained the age of eighteen years and who are of proven good character will be permitted to apply for the grant of permanent residence in the same category as those persons who have resided in the Islands for at least eight years.
Persons legally and ordinarily resident in the Islands for eight years
It is proposed that the category of persons eligible to apply for the grant of permanent residence on the basis of legal and ordinary residence for a period of eight years is to be expanded to include persons who continue to be legally and ordinarily resident and those persons who have ceased to be so resident but who submit their application within ninety days of ceasing to be legally and ordinarily resident.
This builds in a measure of flexibility for the benefit of the applicant and removes the previous situation where there was technically only one day upon which a person could apply for permanent residence. In considering an application for permanent residence under this category the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board is required to grant or refuse the application in accordance with the score attained by the applicant under the points system. This makes it clear that the Board would not have discretion to grant permanent residence to persons who do not meet the requisite number of points under the points system.
It is also proposed that where there is a change in the number of children who are dependants of the holder of a Residency and Employment Rights Certificate and who are born after the issue of the Certificate the Board must amend the Certificate upon the request of the holder to include any additional children.
The Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board will also be given the power to vary or amend the terms of the grant of permanent residency under any repealed law to add or remove dependants. And dependant’s so removed will have the right to apply to the Board for the grant of a Residency & Employment Rights Certificate in his own right. This proposed amendment corrects an omission from the Immigration Law, 2003 in that the Board did not have the power to amend or vary permanent residency status that was granted under a previous law.
Spouses of Caymanians
It is proposed that the Law be amended to remove spouses of Caymanians from the work permit system. This will reduce the number of work permit applications before the Boards and thereby improve efficiency in processing times. Spouses of Caymanians will be required, if they intend to work, to apply to the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board for the grant of a Residency & Employment Rights Certificate as provided for already by the principal law.
However, since there may be delays in processing such applications by the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board a new system is being introduced whereby a spouse of a Caymanian may apply directly to the Chief Immigration Officer who will be given authority to grant a provisional or temporary Residency & Employment Rights Certificate for a period of six months. If approved, this will enable the spouse to begin work very quickly and continue to work whilst awaiting the outcome of their application to the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Board. If the latter is approved, the Certificate will be valid for seven years from the date of the application. Although the proposed amendments to the law will prohibit a spouse of a Caymanian from applying for a work permit, the spouse may continue to work under the terms and conditions of any work permit that is in force at the date of commencement of the amending legislation.
It is also proposed that the requirements that must be taken into account when considering an application by a spouse of a Caymanian for a Residency & Employment Rights Certificate are to be amended to the effect that the character of the non-Caymanian applicant must be taken into account. This corrects an error in the principal law which required the character of the Caymanian spouse to be taken into account.