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Pre-Qualify for Permits

Immigration Department officials and private sector partners are embarking on a programme to educate business owners and the public about the benefits of the new accreditation system.

The accreditation system for employers requires business operators to become accredited before they can be considered for future permits and other immigration services.

Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson said the accreditation system is geared toward holding business owners accountable and rewarding best practices; advancing Caymanians in the workforce; and preventing the work-related abuse of non-Caymanians workers.

Over the coming weeks, representatives and will visit all the districts to meet with small - and large - business owners.

Mr Manderson added that the accreditation system is expected to promote good business practices, specifically by supporting the pension, health and labour laws.

"There are many outstanding business operators in Cayman who play by the rules, but unfortunately there are also instances of employers acting unscrupulously, or disregarding the fair treatment of their employees," he said. "Sometimes employers opt not to hire Caymanians because they can employ non-Caymanians at lower wages, and deny them benefits.

The accreditation system, which is based on a four-tiered points system, is a way of correcting this imbalance, Mr Manderson noted.

"It sets out a number of criteria and assigns each a score," he explained. "A minimum score of 350 points is necessary in order to access certain immigration services, such as consideration for work permits." Businesses that receive more than 350 points are eligible for more benefits.

Accreditation criteria includes maintaining a high standard of business ethics; talent development programmes; employment practices; community programmes; participation in developing a currently under-developed sector, and evidence of Caymanian ownership.

"We will look at issues such as a company's compliance with immigration, health and pension laws; mechanisms to advance Caymanians in the workforce, such as scholarship programmes; the number of Caymanians already hired by that company; as well as support for community initiatives," he said.

Mr Manderson added that this system will also bring greater transparency and equity to the work-permit application process, and attract other businesses and industries to the Cayman Islands.

In the coming weeks, the Immigration Department will begin its series of district meetings. Meetings will be held in the Eastern Districts; West Bay; George Town and Cayman Brac.

Meeting dates; times and venues will be announced shortly.

For further information contact: Prudence Barnes