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"Help Us Help You," says CIO

Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans

With staff members processing hundreds of applications each week, the Department of Immigration is seeking additional cooperation from employers and businesspeople in the Cayman Islands.

Problem areas relate to a range of permits, particularly the regular grants and renewals. Applicants are being urged to speed the process by ensuring that all documentation is in full compliance with relevant immigration laws.

Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans said "In our continuing efforts to improve services and create efficiencies in processing permit applications, we appeal to employers to comply with all requirements.

"Incomplete applications cause significant additional work for our processing clerks to do follow ups and ultimately lead to backlogs in the permit process. There is also a strong possibility that the Immigration Board may refuse applications which provide inadequate information."

Application guidelines are as follows:

  • Applications must be complete, and accompanied by all required support documents.
  • Certification proof must be submitted with applications for employees in the medical, legal, educational, plumbing, electrical and security services fields (or other professions which, by law, require licensing).
  • Renewal applications submitted outside of the normal timeframe for processing will not be rushed as this would be unfair to applications that were submitted on time.
  • Renewal applications submitted after the allocated time will result in employees being unable to continue working; they may also be required to leave the Islands until decisions are made.

Ms. Evans further explained that the advertisement process for work permit applications is another cause for concern.

If applying for long term permits, employers are legally obliged to advertise vacancies in at least two issues of a local newspaper for two consecutive weeks - unless they have been exempted from so doing by the Governor-in-Cabinet or by the Immigration Board.

Copies of the advertisements must accompany work permit applications and employers must provide details of all responses to those advertisements.

The qualifications of all responders must be included, together with the reasons why Caymanians or legal residents were not selected.

Every advertisement must contain the following information:

  • a full and accurate job description for the vacancy;
  • a salary range, and all other benefits attached to the advertised post;
  • a full and accurate description of the qualifications the prospective employer considers necessary to do the job - and the rationale for requiring such qualifications.

Finally, the department reminds employers in the financial services sector of the new directives relating to work permit applications. These were recently issued by Cabinet and allow the Work Permit Board or the CIO to issue three-year permits for all workers who are not listed in a Business Staffing Plan.

The directives encourage the grant of three- to five-year work permits for domestic helpers, doctors, nurses, teachers and ministers of religion. They also encourage the Business Staffing Plan Board and the CIO to issue three- to five-year work permits for workers in a Business Staffing Plan Certificate.

Unless specifically requested on application forms, the Boards or the Chief Immigration Officer are not authorised to independently issue permits for extended periods.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Lennon Christian