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Temporary Relocation of Employees to CI

Due to recent regional devastation by hurricanes, the Cayman Islands Government has implemented certain measures to support persons and locally registered businesses affected by the disasters.

“Several government agencies are contributing to the humanitarian and business continuity efforts needed as a result of the catastrophic damage many Overseas Territories and other Caribbean islands experienced from Hurricane, Irma, Jose and now Maria,” the Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, said.

Some locally registered companies within the financial services industry have sought to temporarily relocate employees and their dependents from areas recently impacted by storms to the Cayman Islands.

In keeping with the Government’s commitment to supporting both regional recovery and local business, the Department of Immigration (DOI) is working to help local companies implement interim emergency procedures for their offices in territories recently affected by hurricanes.

“Temporarily relocating overseas employees to the Cayman Islands allows those persons to access the infrastructure and communications services necessary to remotely operate and conduct business that would otherwise be carried out in the territory or island that they normally reside,” Chief Officer for the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration Wes Howell explained.

The emergency measures include landing persons upon arrival as visitors, with authorisation to work remotely for up to 60 days initially without any need for a work permit.

Under the circumstances, the DOI has also waived visa requirements where necessary and facilitated entry based on alternative means of identification, where travel documents have been lost or misplaced for persons on a direct flight from a territory or the Bahamas.

“Approximately 30 financial services firms have requested temporary relocations of employees thus far as a result of Hurricane Irma, three firms from the Bahamas, one from Miami, with majority requests coming primarily from firms in the British Virgin Islands,” Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith said.

Mr. McLaughlin remarked that given the varying extent of damage sustained within those territories and islands, it is clear that disaster recovery timeframes will vary.

“Moreover, there remains a substantial risk that the region may be impacted further by additional tropical cyclones,” he explained. “We expect therefore, that locally registered financial services companies will require our support to facilitate the relocation of their staff for short periods of time in some instances, while others may require relocation for several months.”

As such although employees relocated to the Cayman Islands will only undertake work in relation to their overseas office and overseas clients, once their 60-day visitor stamps are expired the DOI will process those persons with temporary work permits as a means to regularise their immigration status.

The DOI also advised that longer term work permits are subject to the Immigration Law requirements, including advertisements, to help ensure that available Caymanian workers have an opportunity to fill long term positions.

For further information contact: Jamie Hicks