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The tabled Immigration (Transition) Bill 2018 will effectively repeal the current Immigration Law (2015 Revision).

Published 8th November 2018, 10:17am

The Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration seeks to set the foundation for one of Government’s new departments, Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC), with the proposed Immigration (Transition) Bill, 2018.

If approved in the Legislative Assembly, the bill aims to provide the statutory framework needed to allow WORC to function lawfully as a new entity with effect on 1 January 2019.

The tabled Immigration (Transition) Bill, 2018 will effectively repeal the current Immigration Law (2015 Revision).

The proposed establishment of the transition bill will enable WORC to lawfully function as necessary in order to facilitate the Government’s policy objective, to improve administrative and service delivery with respect to migration management matters.

Welcoming public input on the legislation, Premier Hon Alden McLaughlin said: “This legislation is an important early step as we move towards changes that we believe will benefit Caymanians and residents of the Islands alike.

Councillor for the Ministry of Human Resources, Immigration and Community Affairs, Austin Harris, added: “WORC was established to restructure how employment and workforce development is managed, and to ensure we are a globally competitive business market that delivers durable employment opportunities for Caymanians.”

The proposed statutory change seeks to:

• Complete the transfer of powers and authorities from the Chief Immigration Officer to the Director of WORC as it relates to work permit, residency, and the Right to be Caymanian processes and decisions.

• Streamline the Permanent Residence regime by removing the restriction in the legislation that currently prevents a person who has resided in the Islands for longer than nine years from applying for permanent residence.

• Improve efficiency and process in the administration of all work permits and permanent residence applications, as well as the grant of Right to be Caymanian.

• Create the ability for a permanent resident, who is a British Overseas Territories Citizen by virtue of a connection with another Overseas Territory, to apply for the right to be Caymanian on grounds of residence. This change is being introduced due to the fact that the current principal pathway to becoming Caymanian for long-term residents through naturalization is not available to persons who are BOTCs already.

• Provide for the removal of the Key Employee facility and any consequential provisions as this is no longer applicable

• Make provision for investigative powers for WORC compliance officers in relation to investigations, work permit, Right to be Caymanian and Permanent residency matters, and removes references to immigration officers.

Interim Director of WORC, Sharon Roulstone noted: “A number of the new WORC processes, particularly those related to technology and online services, will not be operational until within the first quarter of 2019. As such the bill will require further amendments early next year.”

“These developments will prepare WORC to better deliver on the mission of full Caymanian Employment and the timely provision of labour necessary for businesses in the Cayman Islands to be globally competitive,” she said.

Interested persons can review the Immigration (Transition) Bill, 2018 in full at www.gazettes.gov.ky.