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It Pays to be Truthful

Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Kerry Nixon talks with East End United Church's Rev. Louis Sully and his wife Ann. The event was the recent Immigration District Evening in East End.

Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson has urged business operators to be truthful when applying for employee work permits.

Speaking at the Immigration District Evening in East End last week, Mr Manderson disclosed that there have been cases where companies submit work permits applications for lower level jobs in order to avoid paying the requisite fees which the senior level positions attract.

He was expanding on his recent announcement that the Immigration Department collected some $90,000 in fines, including from businesses in violation of work permit rules.

"There are companies which we have investigated and fined after finding out that the positions for which they advertised and applied for the permits were not ones that actually existed.

"For example, a company might need to hire a mason but instead apply for a permit for an assistant mason; or may need a manager and apply for a permit for a clerk," Mr Manderson said.

He pointed out that such actions do not pay off as fines imposed are often more than twice what permit costs would have been for the senior position. He added that in addition to attracting heavy fines, failure to be honest will reduce an employee's chances to qualify for key employee status at the end of his or her term limit of seven years.

This is important, Mr Manderson said, because an employer may make an application to the Business Staffing Plan Board or the Work Permit Board to nominate a worker as a key employee because of a particular expertise in his field and skills which are not readily available in Cayman.

"But when it comes time to apply for key employee status the Boards are going to wonder why an assistant mason is a key employee. So a company may end up losing a valuable member of staff because it was not truthful in the beginning," he said.

And Mr Manderson also noted that dishonesty might deny a Caymanian the opportunity to apply for a post because of being misled by advertisement content. "In short, it always pays for companies to operate above board," he concluded.

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