Ex-pat workers still on increase

| 10/07/2015 | 58 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Department of Immigration

(CNS): The number of foreign workers in the Cayman Islands increased again during the first quarter of this year, climbing from 21,266 at the end of last year to 21,620 at the end of March 2015. The increase was largely accounted for by work permit grants and just a small number of ex-pats were employed on government contracts. Statistics from the immigration department show that work permit holders grew from 16,603 to 16,996, the highest number of permits since 2009.

Government increased its foreign employees by only six and now employs 887 non-Caymanian contracted employees, which represents over a quarter of the core government workforce.

The special economic zone, where employees working for firms tenanted in Cayman Enterprise City do not need a work permit, also increased its foreign headcount by just thirteen, bringing the total number of ex-pat employees in the ring-fenced technology zone to 221.

The increase of more than 350 overseas worker comes at a time when government’s official statistics show a fall in overall and local, unemployment but when the public perception is at odds with the figures released by government. Many believe that there are still significantly higher numbers of qualified and experienced local workers who are not able to find jobs as they are not officially registered anywhere. The unemployment issue also sits against the backdrop of an increase in the competition from cheap foreign labour and falling wage levels making job hunting for locals increasingly difficult.

The figures relating to the number of foreign workers currently in Cayman does not include permanent residents with the right to work the statistics reveal that 519 applications were processed with 60 of those being refused the right to stay.

The quarterly report from the immigration department which outlines the numbers that the immigration department dealt with during the first three months of this year also points to a busy time for the enforcement arm. Figures show a whopping 208 people were arrested compared to 136 in the previous quarter and 68 in the same period last year.

The increase in numbers is as a result of an increase in Cuban Migrants who represented around a quarter of those arrested. Government collected over $70k in administrative fines in the previous quarter and less than $50k during this because of the proportion of those arrested being migrants who are not penalized financially but deported.

However, Jamaicans represented the largest group of people arrested by immigration officials at 32% the next largest group was Cuban workers and Cuban migrants at over 26% and the third largest group of immigration offenders came from the Cayman Islands at 16% of total arrests, Hondurans accounted for 5% of those arrested with Canadians and Filipinos rounded out the majority of the arrests accounting for 4% respectively.

While revenue from fines fell the money government collects from permits and other immigration and residency related fees appears set to exceed the last financial year. As the department’s number crunchers in the department now focus on calculating earnings in the last quarter of the financial year 2014/15 after three quarters of the year revenue was already at over $63.3million dollars.

The department appears on track to easily exceed last year’s total revenue collected of around $80.4 million which according to the various figures listed in the latest plan and estimates government had forecast to collect during the financial year which ended last week.

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Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude. Conversely, highly skilled individuals tend to underestimate their relative competence, erroneously assuming that tasks that are easy for them are also easy for others……just saying

  2. Anonymous says:

    Are you Dr. Evil whose father also claimed to have invented the question mark?

  3. Anonymous says:

    (Inhales): Aaaah…I love the smell of racism in the morning!

    (Scrolled through the comments and…wow! No wonder the “1st world” is so divided and doomed to societal failure. This is the very reason why some of us make it a point to highlight certain mindsets and forces. Otherwise, Cayman is destined to go that way as well.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    A great sign the economy is moving in the right direction. Unemployment is history, taxes are flowing in. All is good.

  5. Chet O. Ebanks. says:

    Our govt is a waste of time money and effort. For far too many years and previous gifts all they worry about is work permit fees. While they line their pockets with big paydays each month. What we as they unemployed CAYMANIANS need to do is start protesting and start riots in this country. I can bet that will get everyone in govt they elected the police and governors attention. Let us CAYMANIANS TAKE A STAND AND START TODAY. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. WE CANT LIVE ON A POOR $6 an hour salary. And I will end with this. WHY ALL THE FAKE OR NO NAMES POSTING. ITS OUR COUNTRY PRINT YOUR NAME MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.

    • Anonymous says:

      What caymanians need to do is stop. Being lazy and get up off their asses and work. If they weren’t so prideful and decided that working is better than living off of the government or family and friends there would be no need for work permit holders.

      Get educated and find a decent job and stop complaining about expats. It’s the hard working expats that keep this island moving. Don’t blame expats for taking the jobs that you all don’t want to do, or are too prideful to take.

      Stop smoking weed all day and making babies and loafing around expecting a hand out. If you get benefits from the government you should be made to do some public work like clearing bush or picking up trash. Make the prisoners work too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let it start with YOU? Stop posting, paint billboards and be standing outside government admin building in the morning. It starts with you.

    • jabba says:

      These riots you speak of. How long will it take as I have to check by one yard so I will be running late. What time is the free food?

    • Anonymous says:

      You could take a large step forward in your potential hourly salary by cutting back on the over-use of capital letters.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Work permits are growing.. .so clearly there is work and no excuse for Caymanians to be out of work. Get an education, have a good attitude, show up on time, show initiative. It’s not that difficult. In the 9 years i lived there not one person applied for my job. What does that tell you?

    • Bling Man says:

      It tell me they nah want to work. They jes want mony.

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know I didn’t apply for your job? You work in HR or think they would tell you if they find a suitable replacement? Caymanians are the only nationals considered easily replaced yet people from all over the world can replace expats here.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes. I know because HR told me. It’s not that difficult. Never did anyone apply for my job.

      • The Wookie says:

        You have not applied for mine as you cannot do it. I know exactly how many people are qualified to do my job and the years of experience to back it up.
        This cannot be bought or gained on a two week training course so I know that you have not applied for my post.

        • Anonymous says:

          But my mommy told me I could be anything I wanted to be and she said I could do your job.

  7. Wine Down Pan It says:

    Yes many like you 400pm and your 30 odd parasites would like to believe that but the fact is those third world supporters are building the infrastructure to support your little ignorant @$$ and if you weren’t here we would not need to feed your needs or them either. So you mind your tongue eh. It is said that the trouble with ignorance is as it goes along it picks up confidence. My dad was one of the seaman who’s money help establish this place and toilets were here before the pirate who gave you birth arrive here too. Since you and ya papa know so much tell us where in “Dallas” you can find an item relate to the first electrical plant ????

    • Anonymous says:

      A warm friendly native.

    • Anonymous says:

      so your dad was an expat that sent money home to you so you could eat, and now you look down on others for doing the same, do you rally hate your father that much or are you just a hypocrite?

      • Anonymous says:

        main difference with Caymanians who worked overseas is they came back home and never demanded the host country or overseas employer to give them, their children, cousins same rights as citizens of countries they visited.

        • No, they got citizenship without having to demand it.

        • Anonymous says:

          so how many Caymanians also have US or Jamaican citizenship?

          In reality, an awful lot

        • Anonymous says:

          Just to fine tune this a little. The main difference with Caymanians overseas was that they were non unionized in a time when the National Union of Seamen were striking.

          The Eastern seaboard was subject to union disruption and big firms such as United Bulk carriers could not get enough of this work force who would work for peanuts compared to unionized seamen.

          Once cheaper labour could be found in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the shipping game was history.

          The remittances stopped coming home, a few carried pensions back and the displaced union members found other jobs which had been lost to cheap labour.

          History has a way of working in circles.

    • Anonymous says:

      Caymankind – where that special welcome awaits.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Government increased foreign labour by six (6) ?????? have they gotten the stats from the statutory bodies who employ them also? No!! No.!! Good way to cover their sins.

    • Anonymous says:

      The stats do not acknowledge those that have become Caymanian, it could well be 100 more expats were hired, but 94 of the existing expats became Caymanian.

  9. WaYaSay says:

    How does one argue with this kind of ignorance? Speaking for myself, I am almost 60 years old and never had to live without a toilet or electricity!

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a 58 year old born Caymanian who wholeheartedly agrees that we had toilets many years before we knew the meaning of the word expat. The writer goes on to say that “for the most part if the expats left Cayman would fail quickly” and in the very next sentence encourages us to “get rid of the third world economic refugees (another term for expats)”. The reality is that, in the name of greed, the root of ALL evil, Caymanians are caught between the rock of the expats and third world economic refugees, and the hard place of a government more intent on collecting work permit fees than helping them, with no future in sight for themselves in their own country. We in fact need to get rid of half of the expats that will always do their utmost to keep Caymanians out of the higher paid jobs (forget about ever showing any effort or inclination to train Caymanians) in the name of greed, and half of the third world economic refugees that roam our country even without jobs and causing unheard of levels of crime in this country. But none of this will ever happen as long as it is simpler for businesses to increase the costs of local goods and services to cover work permit fees (thereby destroying economic pillars like tourism) than to train and promote Caymanians, and while it is more convenient for our government to collect work permit fees and boast of 100 million surpluses they don’t have than to properly use those fees to protect and educate their own people rather than giving them handouts to buy votes to keep themselves elected while keeping their own people in purgatory. The love of money, the root of all evil.

    • WaYaSay says:

      Anon 7:59, At first your bigoted ass were generalizing about ALL Caymanians, now you want to break it down along district lines…………Oh yes…… now your father did not really bring toilets and electricity to Cayman…..He brought City Water…..are you sure he did not bring cisterns as well.
      We are all so much better off now that your father gave us the grace of his presence……….such a pity he also gave us YOU……….or did one of those uncivilized “natives” know your mother?
      Sod off you bitter SOB…..posting from some hole on the other side of the world! Glad you’re gone.

    • Anonymous says:

      I, for one, would rather be living in the land time forgot, than living in the money laundering capital of the world that those white collar work permit bankers, accountants and lawyers have made us famous for.

      • OK, but you don’t get to keep all the trappings of the finance industry, including central a/c, your nice house, your gas-guzzling truck, or the great selection at the supermarket.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is the thatch basket weaving course for you then.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually London is the money laundering capital of the world according to press reports, and in terms of money laundering, research and investigations over recent years tend to suggest that Cayman is one of the safest places to invest your money compared to the likes of London, Delaware and other main players who point their fingers in the hope of fooling more and more people into thinking what you just said, with the hope that they can ultimately impose taxes on us all.

        Some people do not understand the bigger picture.

    • Anonymous says:

      And i am saying you’re a disillusioned idiot. And i am saying excuse me i thought we were talking about toilets and not the chemical laden city water that replaced our fresh water cisterns and wells. And i am saying at the rate we are going with expats we will very soon be the land time forgot

  10. Rp says:

    The work permit fee strategy is not geared towards helping Caymanians obtain employment. It is simply designed to milk the financial services industry making it less competitive from a cost perspective to other jurisdictions.

    This is disastrous as this industry is extremely mobile. Offices can be closed in Cayman and opened in other jurisdictions overnight. Look what has happened since 2004 with Our Fund Administration business!

    There are 3000+ expat professionals in the financial services industry bringing tremendous international experience to facilitate the delivery of their services. Where on island could we find 3000 Caymanians to fill those posts? Name me a town anywhere in the world where out of 30,000 local population, 3000 are lawyers and accountants?

    Taxation should be put on those businesses which are not as mobile like manufacturing or construction for instance.

    If gov was serious of putting people to work they would increase work permits for those skills which are available locally. For instance make a boat captain, deckhand, cab or bus driver work permits 25k and monitor the labor supply to make sure they take employment in those positions and perform. Anyone should be able to learn to clean, paint or drive a bus, be a cashier relatively quickly but not everyone can turn a lawyer overnight.

    Believe me the financial industry would love to scoop up any qualified accountant or lawyer In a heartbeat to avoid expat relocation costs alone.

    But again, the fees are designed to milk not to encourage businesses to hire locally.

    • Anonymous says:

      A deluded, extreme and biased post….no one is saying replace all expats but the government should be enforcing the laws that were created to ensure Caymanians are employed in a position suitable to their qualifications and experience. Also you would have to be naive to think an employer would rather employ a Caymanian instead of an expat with restricted ability to change jobs. The work permit process is not at all difficult with the current administration’s policy focused entirely on revenues at the expense of qualified caymanians. I only hope government and the lazy immigration dept personnel will one day experience the difficulty of seeking employment in their own country.

      • Rp says:

        I am I fact an employer and I would really like to employ Caymanians with CPA designation, rather than to pay 25,000 for a work permit, 10,000 in recruitment fees and 7000 in relocation costs.

        I am sorry my friend but naive I am not! I pay this for 10 employees. Do the math please.

        Rp

      • Anonymous says:

        You know, if the work permit process is that easy, it’s not much of a restriction on the ability to change jobs.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The problem is those third world economic refugees ar becoming Caymanians in startling numbers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with you here but that’s the way these political parties want it… bring in masses of uneducated to give status and then become voters so they can in fact carry out the bidding of the rich and elite………. so where’s the biggest problem?

      Who should we cut first?

      hmmm yes stop the low income workers then who’ll complain?

      The same elite who need the votes to get their puppets elected.

      We need sensible Caymanians who can’t be bought out and have them stop bringing in the poor and stop giving away their power to the elite, simple!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow. If I was you I would have never left my utopian home county where everyone is well educated and free from 3rd world people.
      That being said, do tell us, what prompted your move to the Cayman Islands?

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not appreciate the racist tone of posts like the above. Such comments are devoid of facts and based on prejudice.
      I am one Caymanian with university degrees and thankful for decent paying jobs for my entire working life so far. I did not get those jobs handed to me on a silver platter and work very hard to contribute value to my employer.
      I speak for myself, will others of like mind do so, or are you OK with what we frequently see on these posts? If we can get past the prejudices and treat each as fellow human beings we may get around to solving some real problems for the benefit of all.

  12. Sharkey says:

    When writing such s**t like that, you should have to sign your name to it.

    • Andy says:

      So says the person simply known as “Sharkey”. Maybe you should call yourself “Ironic Sharkey” from now on.

  13. Anonymous says:

    4:00 if your father insisted on having toilet and electricity, are you sure he wasn’t squatting over a split in the floor where he came from? We never had that type of toilet. Some of those same people who weren’t used to flush toilet, hopped up on the seat. Like any developing country there are certain things that are lacking, but I can assure you expats may now own expensive homes/properties but Caymanians can boost that for our indigenous population, you won’t find as firm and modern structures anywhere else in the world.
    A recent visit to an group of islands/ state I was taken aback, by the homes, which are all wooden structures, which in my estimation cannot compare to what is found here in the Cayman Islands.
    Their are people like you who have the idea that Caymanians are surviving on the backs of expats. I can remember when many who came to these shores and wore an suit of clothes for a week. Worked side by side with them, and we could change every day. So, who brought prosperity to who? Ponder this in your heart.

  14. WaYaSay says:

    $80 million collected from work permits and $56 million spent on social services because Caymanians cannot find employment or are under employed and underpaid for their qualifications?
    All this so that the PPM and Archer can say that we have $110 million surplus in the budget.

    If I were a work permit holder, I would certainly resent the fact that I pay for 75% of our surplus. Cayman is a consumption based economy, the more money people (NOT Government) have to spend……..the more money Government makes. Citizens will always spend more than work permit holders, simply because the work permit holder has to maintain their families back home, likewise locals have to maintain their families locally here in Cayman.

    Here is a suggestion for the Government to ponder………..Cut work permit revenue by $50 million so that we can reduce cost of social services by $40 million……make up the $10 million difference from the $110 million surplus…………you still get to brag that you have $100 million surplus.

    The real payoff besides, the $100 million surplus, is a society of Caymanians that feel they are contributing to society, a reduced crime rate by Caymanians, a better balance of Caymanians to non Caymanians in the workforce, therefore, less resentment toward non Caymanians and first generation Caymanians.
    I see these as a plus, plus, plus, plus especially having more harmony within our society like it was in the 70’s and 80’s when everyone got along and all Caymanians had a good paying job.

    I really dread the thought of where we will be in 20 years, if we continue to make more people Caymanian and then treat them just like we are treating Caymanians today, marginalizing them and making all Caymanians feel worthless, because they cannot take care of their families, or, have to work two and three jobs just to do so, while being made to compete with every cheap labor source around the world. Remember those with status are just as much Caymanian as you and I and now have to compete in this same environment.

    It would do Government good to realize that many of our first generation Caymanians do not necessarily originate from Countries that are as tolerant as Cayman used to be and may run out of patience well before these older Caymanians would ever turn to violence.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are already out of patience!

    • Rp says:

      To cut work permit fees by 50m you would have to cut top end professionals like lawyers, directors, managers, accountants. That’s where the large work permit fees come from. How will you reduce social services by 40 percent? Where will you get all these professionals locally? The good Caymanian professionals are already hired and doing well in the private sector.

      We just had a young caymanian apply for an accounting position who was just excellent with great attitude. We made him an offer but he just rejected it because he had 3 other offers to choose from.

      If government is not hiring the unemployed ask why? Govt has thousands of qualified Caymanians on payroll and look how well CIG is performing from a financial perspective. These CIG employees are the cream of the crop as we have to assume that the govt HR policies are functioning well, right? Imagine the caliber of the unemployed given the performance of CIG.

      Before govt can tell us businesses who to hire, they should show us how the qualified workforce they hired is operating effectively and efficiently. Until then, pls don’t force me to hire whomever so that my business can have the same faith as CIG.

      I will hire the best candidate no matter of nationality but I wish I had more qualified young Caymanians apply so I can stop paying these ridiculous work permit fees.

      Caymanian business man.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The official numbers cannot possibly be true. Who is there to verify? The government?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Work Permit Holders will always outnumber Caymanians in the workforce, without them Cayman could not function as there are not enough Caymanians to begin with!

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 1:58, without those work permits they may just move to London, where money laundering is not called money laundering……just doing business. Why replace them when they go if they just tarnish our name?

  17. Anonymous says:

    not surprising as the increased the term limit to 10 years from 7, so instead of having 7 years of workpermit holders we now have 10 years

    • Anonymous says:

      Eh? So if an expat left they wouldn’t have (most likely) been replaced by another one?

    • Tim says:

      I am delighted to read of the enfrcement efforts of the department. Lots of good things happening at immigration. I also note that CIG is keeping the numbers of non caymanians employed down. Kudos to all. This is all good news.

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