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Emergency measures grant evacuees the right to work

| 25/09/2017 | 10 Comments
CNS Business

Cayman Islands Department of Immigration

(CNS Business): The Cayman Islands Government is waiving normal procedures for temporary work permits for workers in the financial services industry who have evacuated to this jurisdiction from islands devastated by hurricanes Irma or Maria. “For those who say we should not be doing this, last week it’s them, next week it may be us,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said at a recent community meeting in Prospect, adding, “I believe we are doing the right thing.”

Explaining the waiver procedure, Cayman authorities said the government had implemented emergency measures to enable people to work here, following requests by locally registered companies within the financial services industry that wanted to temporarily relocate employees and their dependents to the Cayman Islands from areas impacted by the recent hurricanes.

Under these measures, people from the evacuated areas can land as visitors with authorisation to work remotely for up to 60 days without any need for a work permit, but only to do work in relation to their overseas office and overseas clients. Once their 60-day visitor stamps are expired, the Department of Immigration (DoI) will process them with temporary work permits as a means to regularise their immigration status.

Longer term work permits for the evacuees will be subject to the Immigration Law requirements, including advertisements, to help ensure that available Caymanian workers have an opportunity to fill long term positions, immigration officials said.

Because they are coming from disaster areas, evacuees arriving on a direct flight from a territory or the Bahamas are able to enter Cayman with alternative means of identification if they have lost their passports, and the DoI has waived visa requirements where necessary.

“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.

The DoI has revealed that there are at least 170 evacuees in Cayman and more are expected. CNS has asked how many of those have requested the right to work temporarily under these emergency measures and is awaiting a response.

News that the CIG was implementing special procedures emerged in the days after Hurricane Irma. In a Financial Times article dated 11 September, Hugh Dickson, a partner at Grant Thornton and based in the Cayman Islands, told the FT that all but two of its nine staff in the British Virgin Islands plus their dependants had been evacuated in a privately booked aircraft to the Cayman Islands, where they had been put up in rented apartments.

“The Cayman authorities have been first class and good about relaxing the usual work permit restrictions [and allowing] people to bring undocumented pets into the island,” he said, adding that it would be a month or two before staff could return to the BVI. (See CIG and Dart enable evacuees to bring pets).

“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 premier said 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.”

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Category: Finance, Financial Services

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Alden Mac tag team pls officially declare that you are in uncle D’s pocket; that you will do everything in your power to take the population to 100k; that you will continue to screw Caymanians opportunity ; that you will givenout PR and status till no one wants them anymore;

  2. Anonymous says:

    Are back ground checks being done on all of the evacuees? With the raise in crime and molestation on our Island I pray to god that we do the needful. Not saying that it’s only expats that are committing these crimes.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are financial service professionals, not gardeners or maids.

      • Anonymous says:

        We have had people in white collar jobs with dubious backgrounds here before. I think this poster has a valid point.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This sounds compassionate and fair….hopefully employers don’t find a way to abuse it and Alden doesn’t give them all status.

  4. Observer says:

    Don’t you worry they will never leave Cayman and jobs for us will become less.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You don’t need a hurricane to create a disaster area. Many government sectors have achieved it quite well without one. It took me four attempts to license my vehicle and three lunch hours consumed waiting in line while ONE window was open. What’s that you say? Use the online system! Did that, worked once, and now the government IT department actually told me they don’t know what is wrong, despite the web page reporting an error number. While I think allowing evacuees to work is a good thing, I doubt the government will be able to adequately ensure it us not abused.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The government has done the right thing. Anyone know when the required Cabinet waiver was issued?

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