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New Work Permit Category

With the winter tourist season beginning, the Immigration Department has introduced a seasonal work permit category for temporary employees in the tourism sector. Also being introduced is an express service which allows decisions on temporary permits to be communicated within 48 hours of application.

The Immigration Amendment Legislation brought these changes into effect on 25 November 2008.

Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson explained that these moves are part of a new strategic thrust to implement business-friendly immigration policies to support the growth of critical industries such as tourism and ensure Cayman's continued prosperity. "I want to re-emphasise that this is not about issuing more temporary permits," he said.

Mr Manderson further pointed to the Leader of Government Business, the Hon. Kurt Tibbetts' strategic policy statement in the legislative assembly last week. Mr Tibbetts expressed government's commitment to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Giving further details on the changes, Mr Manderson noted that the decision to establish a seasonal work permit category was in response to requests from the tourism sector.

"Tourism operators indicated that the traditional six-month temporary permit was not adequate to cover their staffing needs for the entire high tourist season which runs from about November to June each year.

"We did not think it was fair for a company to pay for a temporary work permit, and then have to seek another because the first did not cover the entire period for which they needed a particular employee," Mr Manderson said.

He explained that these permits usually relate to wait staff and other ancillary employees who are not available on island in sufficient numbers to meet local demand during the high season.

He further disclosed that the seasonal permits will be issued for a period not exceeding eight months at 66 per cent of the cost of an annual work permit in a specified category. Seasonal permit holders will then have to leave the island for at least three months before another application can be done for them.

Giving details on changes relating to the traditional temporary work permit, Mr Manderson disclosed that an express service is now in place. This means that persons can now pay a fee to have a decision on a temporary permit (normally issued for no more than six months) within 48 hours of an application.

"The express service does not guarantee an approval however we will provide a decision within 48 hours" Mr Manderson emphasized. "We see the express service meeting the needs of our customers whether there are large business or personal employers Mr Manderson concluded.

Fees for Express Work Permits

The fees for express temporary permits are as follows:

  • $300 for permits valued between $5,000 and $17,000
  • $250 for permits valued between $2750 and $4999
  • $200 for permits valued between $1,100 an $2479
  • $100 for permits valued between $100 and $1099

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes