PR points system under review

| 25/09/2015 | 79 Comments
Cayman News Service

David Ritch, Senior Partner, Ritch & Conolly

(CNS): The government is examining the point system used to make decisions on permanent residency applications following a ruling by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie last month, in which he criticised the arbitrary nature of the system and ordered the immigration appeals tribunal to re-hear two cases. The government said it acknowledged that more work was now needed on the law in light of the CJ’s findings. Announcing the appointment of local immigration lawyers to help the attorney general, government said the review would be limited to the points system and not the entire immigration law.

“The current exercise will only seek to revisit the points system in so far as it will directly address the issues identified by the chief justice and is not meant, or intended to be, a wholesale review of the legislation,” a government release on Thursday evening from the premier’s office stated.

The amendments to the Immigration Law and Regulations were made to try and improve various aspects of the law, officials claimed but they accepted that a review was new required.

“To ensure that no time is wasted in addressing the concerns raised by the chief justice, the government has retained the law firm of Ritch & Conolly,” the release said, indicating that the senior partner, David Ritch, described as a “seasoned immigration law expert”, will lead the team, which will include counsel from the Attorney General’s Chambers.,

The release said the lawyers will analyse the law and procedures that could adversely impact the “lawfulness or fairness of any decision in respect of outstanding applications and pending appeals for permanent residence”.

Following the review the legal experts will advise the government on “appropriate steps to be taken” to urgently address the situation. “The government is cognizant of the need to have all outstanding applications and appeals dealt with in a timely manner. Government has also directed that the review be completed as expeditiously as possible taking into account the complexity and scope of the issues to be covered,” the statement from the premier’s office said.

In his ruling the chief justice highlighted a significant number of shortcomings, not just with law but the arbitrary nature of the process and the failure of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal to show documentation to support what were found to be unfair decisions. The CJ also stated that appeals on applications made before the law was changed should be dealt with under the old legislation.

CJ highlights list of problems with immigration appeals

The amendments to the PR system, implemented by the PPM government within months of taking office, sought to make the PR application much tougher after it abolished the previous rollover and key employee policies, paving the way for all work permit holders to apply for PR after reaching eight years residency. But as a result the PPM administration made the goal of attaining PR much more difficult.

Government also sought to severely curtail the opportunity for applicants who are refused PR to appeal and remain here during a long drawn out process. Government increased the cost of appeals, made applicants leave the island during the appeal process and applied the new rules to appeals where the original applications were made before the law was changed.

However, despite making the process more rigorous for applicants, the long criticised issues relating to the arbitrary and closed-door decisions by boards and tribunals across government was not addressed and the judge ruled that the system and how points are awarded for certain professions was arbitrary and unfair and criticised the lack of support for the decisions made in both the cases he examined.

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Comments (79)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There is an obvious problem with the PR System. The Chief Justice has let his voice heard. I will await and see how this mess is resolved before commenting further. It needs to be fixed and corrected sooner rather than later.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The first thing that needs to happen is to get rid of the immigration boards! They are just a political game play and people get suckered in within favor giving and taking all the time. There are also plenty who are unable to set aside their “feelings” and don’t understand that they have to follow what the law reads.

    There needs to be a tight system in place and all applications are to be processed full time by immigration rather than relying on approval by a few part time politicians!

    Anyone found out not following the process or circumventing it needs to be fired and the applicants need to leave the Island for 6 months before they can try again.

    That’s how a system would work in most civilized countries, but for that to happen, Cayman would actually need a Government who is willing to step on toes!

  3. Crosshairs says:

    As with many issues, the politicians know how to fix the immigration system for the overall benefit of the country.

    Their problem is that they do not know how to get re-elected after they fix it……..

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a thought;
    Take what you have learned from your time in the Cayman Islands, return to and apply within your home countries – eventually they too will be as attractive as these shores.

    No? Why not?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would we? The easy money and lack of decent competition in the labor market makes Cayman ideal, as long as you can put up with the place.

      • Anonymous says:

        So, what you are saying is you are a greedy opportunist that was only able to succeed with your low standards of qualifications in a subpar environment.

        That mindset alone should be enough to deny one from permanent residency in the Cayman Islands. Unfortunately, and obviously, judging from what we see in our midst today – it is not.

        Welcome to the new Cayman buddy. You’ll fit in nicely here – many of your kind walking around.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, I will go when I am ready.

    • Anonymous says:

      8.30, our social consciousness will not let us go. For we understand (unlike some of you) that if we go, then CIG will lose all the outrageous work permit fees it charges us for the pleasure of being here, and the revenues it gets from licensing financial service companies will dry up. So CIG will not be able to afford all the hand outs you get, that we mostly pay for. That’s going to hurt. Then all the properties that will be left empty, some 5000 at least I am guessing, no one to rent them, huge loss of revenue. Then the shops, will have very few customers to serve and your choice will be more restricted and more expensive than it is now. So, with you and only you in mind, we stay, despite the continued hate messages you leave us on here. It’s for your own good.

  5. Anonymous says:

    WEES. White expatriate entitlement syndrome.

    Challenge: Forward the same theories and principles regarding local immigration in any of those countries today (USA, UK, Canada) and see what the reaction will be.

    Like or loathe these words – it is absolute truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a racist when did this become about race? What there are no black or white “native” born Caymanians and every mixture in between? The color of the skin should not enter into the issue so don’t try and introduce it…it is about whether an individual is going to be a part of a greater community and contribute to it. Many native born in every country detract from their own country but not because of their ethnic background whatever it may be but because they prefer to use and abuse the country.

      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t get it poster.
        Every “true” Caymanian understand that a Caymanian is a Caymanian. My extended family is made up of every possible ethnicity. Color / race was never such an issue for Caymanians until outsiders brought it in.

        It was not until recently that the typical cancer of centuries-old western racism / “raciality” entered these shores via our newcomers.

        I opted to stop dancing around the elephant and instead jumped on its back and yanked on its trunk.

        It is what it is. To pretend it does not exist is cowardly and only serves to advance the agenda of many in our midst today.

        I reiterate, forward these same principles to any of the aforementioned countries today, and pretend they face any semblance of the immigration levels we are, and let us know how it works out for you.

        Many of our expats should bear in mind that to Cayman they are the IMMIGRANTS that are so hotly debated in their own countries. Granted they prefer the description “expat” – but an immigrant is an immigrant by any other name.

        • Anonymous says:

          this post looks so familiar…. dat you Who?

        • Just Driftwood says:

          “…and pretend they face any semblance of the immigration levels we are”

          Wait, what? Do you watch the news–the immigration crisis in Europe due to the issues in the Middle East, or the thousands flocking daily from Mexico/Central America to the U.S.? (none of whom, I’m pretty sure, can prove they make enough money to support themselves and their families in order to stay).

          I think I must be reading your post wrong.

          • Anonymous says:

            You are not reading my post wrong.

            Until the UK is facing 30,000,000 or the USA faces 150,000,000 immigrants / expats in their country – then there is no comparison to the Cayman Islands.

            You and I both know those countries would implode with unrest and mass chaos if this became a reality – yet, we hear the rhetoric that we do in Cayman re immigrants aka expats.

            • But of the half of expats here, only a small number are actually applying for pr, so your numbers don’t really hold up. According to news reports there have been 350 apps for PR since 2013. Assuming those are all genuine apps and are all approved, that’s only about 10% of the total population of Cayman (excluding work permit holders). The US has a population of about 13.5% legal immigrants. The rest of your numbers are based on work permits, which the Caymanian government has the right to deny. These are people like myself and my friends who will mostly leave here after a period of time (3 years for us). Still not understanding your point. Assuming Caymanian unemployment is 6%, where will you get the other chunk of your workforce? Or are you resigned to turning the island into a ghost town so you don’t have to suffer us awful expats?

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous 5:52am – Except that they are not all white.
      And now that I think about it, if you don’t think we have loads of our own entitled Caymanians, you are blind or one of them.

  6. 345 says:

    Lawyers deciding on a point system and test? Really?

    We should be asking Sociologists and Psychologists to develop a reliable and valid measure, as to who has adjusted, is committed, and will assimilate effectively.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jacans got upset with PPM and UDP for trying to control numbers that’s the problem…. check out who had filed the most appeals then we will see, better to have more professionals though at least not a drain on social services

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent point.
      Unfortunately we all know what such research and findings will report – and that would be contrary to the makeup of the current power structure in the Cayman. Not to mention the future ambitions for the children of said power structure.

  7. Cayman Slice says:

    This is what happens when you constantly tinker with the immigration rules and laws to cater to a certain foreign element on this island The old Caymanian Protection Law was sufficient now we have over 180 amendments to give advantage, rights and privileges to those arriving here with their own agenda which has little or nothing to do with helping or preserving Cayman or its people.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Look we all know the score. If you have pots of money you get status. If you are a hard working, long time resident who is not rich but is self sufficient we will make it very difficult for you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nailed it my friend.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds a good plan. There are far more of the lower earners, they are fungible, replaceable and have little value to the economy in terms of productivity or domestic spending.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is true. What you give to the community (in real terms rather than walking dogs); how much you really do love the Cayman Islands and its people; and the fact that you will never be a drain on the state because whilst not rich, you have saved enough to look after yourself in old age are never factors taken into consideration – only money. Same old story as ever – greed, greed, greed. So you end up with the selfish rich who just want to buy everything up and turn Cayman into a mini-Miami (it already is).

  9. Anonymous says:

    “The lawfulness OR fairness” of the system is what they are looking at? Does CIG really not understand that those are the same thing in this context? The law requires the system to be fair, rational, and transparent.

  10. Anonymous says:

    CNS – I believe your article may contain a number of errors. For example, the rollover policy still exists, it is just that it has moved from 7 and 9 years to 9 years only. No-one is required by the law to leave the Island during a PR appeal, and any attempt to apply new rules to old applications is unlawful – and the law expressly provides that no one can be disadvantaged by changes. Arguably the new points system makes PR much easier to obtain, and also opens it up to a much wider range of people, not just key employees.

  11. Foreign Interloper says:

    No place can survive the inevitable upheaval when expats outnumber the indigenous people. Too many coming here expecting to run the Caymanians out of their own home. A clear balance is needed in these islands we can not continue to fill this very small island up with in an everybody.

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly someone has been fiddling the thumbs up – 48 thumbs up when the other posts from the same time have one or two responses?

    • Anonymous says:

      Those that moan like this seek protection because they are pathetic ineffective human beings.

    • Anonymous says:

      Believe me, we don’t want your homes. We have seen them. You keep them, please!
      Agree with other poster, definite thumbs up fiddling going on for your post!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am seriously contemplating just walking away.

    That’s what they want…. right? That’s the game, the idea… That’s the win. Make it borderline impossible, weight the decision making in favor of the mood of an anti expat local, then tie it all up with lawyers when it gets acknowledged by a judge and all this other crap… until we cave?

    All the paperwork we submitted, you will want that all over again, try and catch us out with less money in the bank than we submitted 300 years ago. Bankrupt us with fees… until we cave.

    Hit me with a cultural test that the locals would never pass? Throw me a bone with the courses because it was all too blatantly obvious to all what you are doing to us. I really enjoyed that by the way and it gave me a sense that maybe you might care about your future countrymen! I kicked the tests butt. Sorry!

    My application has been in for nearly 2 years now…. for what? After 9 years I have not shown this country enough commitment? After 9 years of building friends both expat and Caymanian (Im not prejudiced) and raising a family, buying a home… After 9 years and teaching young Caymanians both in and outside of the workplace you treat us like this?

    Get over yourselves!

    • Anonymous says:

      Dont you get it yet, expats are deeply resented and the system is run by two bit idiots with no sense of law. Walk away and go somewhere you are actually wanted.

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel your pain. I decided to avoid it and left. Now I see by the stories over the past year that I have made the right decision. I don’t know anyone who enjoys having their lives in limbo. I didn’t like it for the short time I was waiting for key employee and decided not to put myself through that kind of uncertainty again. My job has not been filled and so it’s simply a loss to the GDP of the Cayman Islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        If your job hasn’t been filled since the days of key employee than that means it is not necessary…don’t tell me in all the world no one else can do whatever job you were doing..There is no free lunch here. Tell us why other than you had a supposedly specialized job that you should stay here?

        I came here worked hard, assimilated myself into the culture and with the people of this very welcoming country. I obeyed their rules and contributed to the best of my ability and never once expected that I was entitled to Cayman residency just because of the the job I did and still do. I earn the respect of this country and its people and I am proud to call myself Caymanian and I am sick and tired of hearing all of this bull crap that just because you have been here for a certain amount of years and you do some type of job that you are entitled to residency and the government should make it easy for you..that kind of thinking is unheard of in every other country that I know..Why should Cayman be any different?

        • Anonymous says:

          How ignorant…. But good for you. So, would you make the grade under the current system? It sounds like you would, with a good few points up your sleeve.

        • Anonymous says:

          All I said was that I didn’t like the uncertainty. No sense of entitlement here. The job has not been filled because there is no one to fill it. You realize that when an economy contracts that many jobs go unfilled and become, in your words, unnecessary. That’s not a good thing. I was pumping about fifty grand us into the economy per year. Now it’s zero. You realize that expats put more into the economy than they take out right?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I believe that this may be the fourth or fifth change within 12 months. Something tells me that it just isn’t right!

  14. Anonymous says:

    They acknowledge applications have to be done in a timely manner? Bullshit! If they agreed with that the applications would have been dealt with in a timely manner. They have not been. That means they are either lying or inept. Which is it?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear. If the Government is limiting the review to the points system it may not have understood the judgment. This ought to be interesting to watch.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bang on. The whole law is broken. Does anyone have the balls to fix it?

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS misunderstood the press release. The review will lead wherever it leads. What the release was intended to convey is that any review of the points system will be limited to what is necessary to address the issues raised in the ruling. The entire system will be examined, but the points system itself will be left alone except where, on analysis, it is determined that change is necessary. So far from focusing on the points system, it is actually the only area of immigration legislation that will not be revisited save where aspects of how it operates may contribute to the issues identified in the ruling. In other words, “PR points system under review” is almost totally inaccurate and definitely gives a misleading impression.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Frankly seen enough to not even bother with the system. So will not buy property, will not make an effort to contribute to society other than the bits that concern me and take my hard earned cash and business somewhere else when the time comes. It is maybe what they (CIG) want, but ultimately will destroy Cayman unless resolved in an intelligent manner that affords the proper protections for Caymanians and expats alike.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then what would be your suggested changes or revised system that fairly vets all applicants so that future issues with new Caymanians are minimised???

      • Anonymous says:

        How about one that is lawful? It’s really not that hard if people who understand the issues are involved.

        • Anonymous says:

          There will be legal cases and Cayman will lose. You cannot have a system that is not transparent, quick and fair. Dragging PR apps for two years or more and demanding papers and fees over and over again us going to cost Cayman dearly.

  17. Anonymous says:

    So, as is usual, we are going to turn to our decades-serving politicians, job for life civil servants and the usual pool of private sector advisers to fix the problem that they ALL clearly did not help bring about.

    What is the definition of insanity again?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Was this review awarded on the basis of competitive bid? I wouldn’t mind telling them what’s wrong with the system, and I wouldn’t charge as much as a lawyer.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I know three person of high profession who have been waiting for two – three years. But because of the uncertainty they are migrating to Canada. And these are persons who have good asset and investment here.

    • Anonymous says:

      The treatment of expatriates and in particular of highly skilled professionals in incredible demand by our economy under this non-system is nothing short of disgusting. The position it has placed many hard working people who are a true asset to to our Islands in is a disgrace. Yes, not everyone who wants to can stay, and yes there needs to be a system, but what has been done is an insult both to expatriates and the Caymanians the system is supposed to protect.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank You!
        I wish I could give more thumbs up. Yours is the most profound statement I have read in a long time! Thank you for posting.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are not emigrating they are simply returning home, Just because they have a high profession does not entitle them to PR what are you saying here that no Caymanian can have a high profession so the expat must stay.Or having a high profession makes you a better person. If you get to stay great but if not accept it and move on.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you got the attitude problem. You miss the point entirely. You are precisely why high flying expats are needed, to address problems where people cannot answer or deal with point in case, but go off on their own tired agendas. Do you understand what the topic is? Nothing to do with high flying Caymanians

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you are possibly commenting on something without having the slightest bit of knowledge.

        I have seen friends leave here recently rather than opt for the pr route. They have gone to Gibraltar, Malta, Canada, UK , Ireland, France and Cyprus and did not wish to stay, despite owning houses or investing in some way in Cayman.
        At least one of the jobs is now redundant and one of the positions has been relocated but not filled by the same person.
        Therefore, it does not always equate that if an expat leaves, a position opens up for a Caymanian.

        None of those who moved have returned home, they have all opted to move on to another country and they have the skills and qualifications to do it as despite what you may believe, there is more to the world than just Cayman.

        • Anonymous says:

          “At least one of the jobs is now redundant…” Thanks for confirming what we suspect has been happening over the years – jobs made “redundant” and split out among other staff members or simple sent offshore with the expat in a vindictive backlash to rollover. And you wonder why there is resentment among Caymanians when they are losing their homes because they can’t get jobs in their own country?

          I don’t see the governments of Bahamas or Bermuda standing by and doing nothing while their natives are without jobs.

          Thousands and thousands of expats have been granted PR/status in Cayman over the years but it’s still not enough is it? I guess it will never be enough! And why are these people not returning to their homes but migrating elsewhere? Most Caymanians have nowhere else to go.

          • Anonymous says:

            The whole world is on the move and nowadays, if you want the work you have to get off your ass.

            Caymanians have more access than most and are some of the most laden with different passports and nationalities than anywhere else.

            Sorry but that is crap!

          • Anonymous says:

            Absolute rubbish. Caymanians have nowhere to go?
            I know plenty of Caymanians who have all taken the opportunity of the multiple passports, open entry into Europe and residency papers open to them. There are a few in the Uk, studying and working, Canada, Finland, France and the United States. A few even did their articles in the Uk to enhance their chances in the workplace when they return to Cayman.

            What I don’t see is any of the being treated any different for doing this, even though they are now all expats in someone else’s country!

            • Anonymous says:

              Caymanians have no right to live and work in any other country. Thousands of Caymanians even need visas to go to the UK, and certainly have no right to live and work there, let alone the rest of Europe. As for the USA, your ignorance is laughable. They even have a 1 year term limit for whole categories of university educated worker – and enjoy the lifetime of US taxes you get by becoming a green-card holder.

              Why should articling in the UK help a lawyer succeed here by the way? Do they practice Cayman law there?

      • Anonymous says:

        Is it painful when you drag your knuckles on the ground?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but do they have any ‘s’s at the end of their plural words?

  20. Donald von Clownface says:

    I will build the biggest best wall in the history of moated under sea mountain tops. Future babies will need two anchors just to hang on.

    Come on folks. The system was designed to keep people out. Not let them in. You ain’t foolin’ no one.

  21. Dandumb says:

    How come a child of a Caymanian/Status holder is only awarded 40 points towards PR? If you parents live in Cayman and have status should you not be grandfathered into a simpler process then folks who have only been in the country for 7 or 9 years?

    • Anonymous says:

      Umm. If you are Caymanian when you have a child, the child is Caymanian. If you have a child living here with you when you become Caymanian, the child becomes Caymanian.

      The 40 Points is only applicable to persons who have not lived here and followed their parent much later. They do not need grandfathering or any special treatment beyond the 40 points available. They are adults. 40 is a lot, especially considering that having a million in cash in the bank will only get you 15.

      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        “The 40 Points is only applicable to persons who have not lived here and followed their parent much later.” BS. If you get PR when your kids are 13, having lived here since they were 4, you are not going to be Caymanian before they are 18, and guess what, they wont qualify. On the day they turn 18 they will have been in Cayman since they were 4, their parents will have been here 14 years, and there will be no room at the inn, since an 18 year old is sure as hell going to struggle on all the other criteria.

        Not saying that is wrong, just dont pretend its somehow citizenship for the whole family, because it isnt.

        • Anonymous says:

          Wrong. If you get PR when your kids are under 18 then they get PR and do not ever have to go through the points system at all. They just have to continue it when they turn 18. As PR holders they can get naturalized (if they are not already) and apply for status in their own right.

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