Immigration report ‘soon come’

| 23/02/2016 | 29 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Department of Immigration, George Town

(CNS): A review of the problems identified with the points system for permanent residency (PR) applications will be completed “shortly”, according to Eric Bush, the chief officer in the ministry of home affairs. There is now a backlog of over 630 applications that cannot be considered until the law and regulations are addressed and CNS asked the CO a number of questions about the danger that government may be forced to grant residency rights to hundreds of applicants because of human rights implications. But Bush has said he cannot answer any of them until he gets the report.

The questions relate to how government plans to tackle the problem that has emerged from the changes to the rules surrounding permanent residency application made at the end of 2013. Local attorney David Ritch has been commissioned by government to conduct a review of the immigration law.

“I understand the review is in its final stages where the findings and recommendations will be presented shortly for consideration,” Bush told CNS. “Once the findings and recommendations are presented and considered, I should be able to answer the remainder of the questions.”

According to statistics released by the immigration department, 638 applications for PR have been made since 2013 and less than 100 of them have been considered. However, at least 200 are now at least two years old, which means that the applicants have passed the critical ten-year time period as residents on the island without their status being regularized, leaving government open to human rights claims if down the line the applications are refused or still not considered.

There are a number of issues with the law but main stumbling block for government has come from rulings by the chief justice that have questioned the arbitrary nature of the points system that impacts the types of jobs applicants hold, which has prevented the Permanent Residency and Status Board from properly considering the vast majority of the applications made since the law was changed in October 2013.

The PPM government acted almost immediately after being elected to remove the rollover policy and allow all work permit holders to say here for nine years and then either leave or make a residency application. The goal was to make the application process and criteria for achieving residency tougher and increase the number of points required, having removed the ‘key employee’ designation, which had previously acted as the barrier to prevent people from reaching the point where they could legally apply to be a resident.

However, in an effort to control who and how many foreign nationals become permanent residents and ultimately Caymanians, the government has created a legal minefield for itself, with the new rules and the subsequent stalling of the process creating a significant backlog.

The challenge for government now is when and how it intends to clear that backlog, which is increasing by the month, without leading to another mass status giveaway akin to the controversial awarding of more than 3,000 grants in 2003.

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Comments (29)

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  1. Rp says:

    Why is the process stalled? There are many applicants who have more than 110 pts without the section in question. Set those applications aside and grant them residency. There are others who cannot make 110 even if they max the pts in that section. Set those aside and deny them.

    How many applications do we have left after this exercise?

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      But if you do that, then there will a definite number of acceptances and rejections occurring during the PPMs watch and within a short period prior to the next election. Can’t have that. The expat haters will be angry at any new PR grants, and those with a vested interest in the PR applications that get rejected will be angry too. Can’t please all of the people all of the time if you have a definite outcome. Never make the mistake of confusing efficiency in public service with political expediency.

      So we will either get a report saying the whole system, not just the 15 points for strategic industries, needs to be rejigged and start again, or one that makes recommendations for a process which in due course (after the next election, perhaps never) will, after public consultation, comparison with other jurisdictions, examining the trails of sacrificial lambs and any other excuse you can think of, come up with a 15 point system. And in the meantime any PR applicant whose clock ticks over the 10 year point will be building a stronger and stronger ECHR case for residency irrespective of what his final score is.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What is the Cayman’s definition of “shortly”?

    • Anonymous says:

      When we have enough court cases that we are going to lose hand over fist and be forced to pay out millions. That’s shortly. Or it could be a cunning ploy to get just such a response and then declare independence and avoid such debts. So cunning or stupid? Take your pick.

  3. PPM Dawn says:

    We simply cannot sustain this burden or strain any longer on her infrastructure or government services more traffic and more pollution.Increase crime a whole list of problems now surfacing in these little islands. Sexual predators now being imported if we did not have enough of our own. No report is need to tell us that

    • Anonymous says:

      from what i see…cayman needs more expats and less locals….
      80% of crime is commited by locals who only account foe 50% of the population…..not bad going!….zzzzzzzzzzz

      • Rallyston Fagan says:

        That’s what unnah would like to see happen in this place, but its going to come to friction here shortly if unaah bull$#@% doesn’t stop.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hard to comprehend how productive applicants, that contribute greatly to our quality of life, could possibly be a burden to you. Roll or not roll, what is your beef with giving them an answer before we are all stuck with a HRC issue leading to status?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Time to get me an immigration based law degree!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    And that my friends is why I’m taking my money and getting out. Thanks for the time spent. Feel goo that I could fulfil the requirements of my work permit and train my replacement. Good luck everyone. Peace.

    • Anonymous says:

      This seems to be the action of most. With concerns of political stability, economic and pension stability and the growing problem with thefts and sex crimes, people are deciding that there is more to life than money.

  6. D. Trix says:

    Classic management tactic…

    Delay delay delay until new job posting comes up then leave the mess for the new manager.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Of course there is a point. We LOVE reports and do our best to bury them once they are finalized. Yep it is just another day in paradise!

  8. Anonymous says:

    cig and civil service incompetence at its finest…..all under the instruction of the do-nothing ppm……

  9. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Great response my lodge brother.

    Just Another day in Absurdistan

  10. Anonymous says:

    Chief Officer Eric Bush continues to demonstrate ineptitude but the DG decides he should get a promotion to head up the Cayman office in London with all the perks allowances and trimmings. Look at his performance at Ministry of Home Affairs scandal ridden and failure is his legacy everything is “soon come”

    • Jotnar says:

      Civil servants translate policy set by government into practice. If the policy is to commission reports, prevaricate, and basically find any excuse to defer politically unpopular action until after the next election – or forever – witness for example the dump as well as dealing with PR applications – then there is very little Eric Bush can do about it. Its not his policy or decision – don’t shoot the messenger.

    • Anonymous says:

      When Lodge assesses Lodge Lodge wins. It is the rule of Lodge.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would you assume the civil service rather than the minister is to blame?

  11. Anonymous says:

    There is and never has been any reason to wait for the report. The delay has just made the position (and government’s exposure) worse.

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