Immigration statistics reveal over 24,000 overseas workers

| 01/09/2016 | 58 Comments

(CNS): Statistics from the immigration department that are much more up to date than those revealed by the Economics and Statistics Office in the quarterly report last week show that there are more than 24,000 workers in Cayman from 122 different countries. The figure includes workers on full and temporary permits as well as employees in the special economic zone and those with permission to work who are awaiting a decision on their permanent residency application.

After more than a decade of an immigration policy designed to encourage employers to recruit from more diverse jurisdictions, Jamaica still contributes the most overseas workers to Cayman’s labour market, with almost 10,000 permit holders from the neighboring island.

The next largest group is workers from the Philippines, with over 3,000 permit holders, soaring past those from Canada, who were once the second largest group of foreign workers. Today, Canadians only account for just over 1,200 permit holders and are placed fifth on the nationality table after the 1,957 British workers and 1,388 Americans.

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Comments (58)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Native Caymanians have to blame themselves for this mess. Don’t blame expats for this. How can a country of law and order change so much to chaos and disorder in less than 15 short years ago? Let me tell you no proper planning, greed and corruption. If the trend continues this place will be far worst than any 3rd world hell hole in two years, why? All countries have boundries, rules and regulations. Here in Cayman of late we make up or drop rules as we see fit. Nothing means what it’s suppose to anymore. This island has become like the fable of The Dog and the Bone; The man and his Donkey and soon to become like the Piped Piper… Please don’t blame expats for this blame it on those who choose to give it away and how somehow want it all back, too late for that now. Da wha we get tek it now! Old people warned that this day would come. If we stand for anything we will fall for everything. When we lose who we are we will lose ourselves and everyone around us. Expats came here and want to stay here because we are different than from their country of origin if we were the same they would have stayed in their country of origin but they choose to be Caymanian. As a result Caymanians need to stop apologizing for being who we are and changing to suit everyone.

  2. Anonymous says:

    With exception of a few zealots and trolls I don’t think anyone is saying get rid of all work permits. But apply the laws so companies will employ qualified caymanians when available. Your current government’s policy of ignoring the laws for sake of work owrmit revenue make it too easy for employers to ignore the laws and for a price get a job for a cronie or an indentured worker.

  3. ExPatriate says:

    Hot pockets!!!
    Oops…I meant HOT TOPIC…same melody.
    What about the Greenies? Aren’t they expats too?
    Why weren’t any permits issued for them to mow Safe Haven?

  4. MM says:

    For all my people that keep complaining about expats this, that and taking jobs and whatever else – we have got to see the bigger picture here.

    The present infrastructure could not function with a population of less than 50,000 even. Some of the comments I read or hear from my people indicate that they would not care if every non-Caymanian packed their bags and left tonight. And I really do not like when any of us toss the “well planes leave daily” comment at the expat population either.

    Fact is, this country was developed on the unity and cooperation of expats and Caymanians. The luxuries and amenities that we now enjoy were all due to the amiable relations our people were able to have with any and all who came here – no one came to these islands with the intention to take food from our mouths; in fact many came and put the food there.

    The Caymanian vs Expat, Expat vs Caymanian BS has really got to stop, it is unnecessary. Not being able to properly understand the Work Permit figures, processes and underlying reasoning is all just unnecessary fuel to the fire.

    And to get some perspective as to what would happen if our population plummeted (as Caymanians pack and leave and the rest of us try to kick off the expats):

    Our supermarkets get preferred pricing for bulk imports due to volume in turn being able to charge less and we all benefit from that; a reduced population would mean less to import and the supermarkets would lose preferred pricing and we would all have to feel that – (and if you are complaining about the supermarkets raising prices then talk to the Government who raised the Customs Duties in 2014 and 2015 and coined the now 232 page Customs Tariff laws (which were recently 23 pages) then you will get an idea of why the cost of living is through the roof, and who REALLY is benefitting from the no duties on perfume, gold bullion, silk clothing, antiques and so forth? Seriously though Government, who?).

    A quick history less – the brainchild Idi Amin (past and last president of Uganda) decided he would expel the expat (primarily Pakistani) investors, business owners and workers and all others of the Pakistani expat community (at that time they were major stakeholders in the economy) and reinstate his cronies to run the businesses that were left idling promising his people great prosperity and this contributed greatly to the present irrecoverable state of the Ugandan economy. (A lot more to this issue, from the businesses crashing due to mismanagement, increased crime, greater suffering amongst natives, increased poverty, etc, etc, etc).

    There are mutually agreeable ways to deal with every issue this country faces and one thing is for sure the Government is not lacking the money to do it; simply lack the connection with the Cayman community, the common sense or even the encouragement to deal with it.

    This squabble began around in the 80’s when Caymanians began raving about expats and then raising our children overhearing the prejudice while the only words coming from expat lips at that time were “Caymanians are such friendly, dedicated, honest, hardworking, intelligent people” and we were going on and on and on and on and on and on until we have stirred up the waters so badly now that the expat community is pelting stones back. We are a very defensive bunch (even if we start the war); but we are going no where fast and achieving nothing. The “yo mamma” attitude really has to get left, it is the 21st Century; and then we wonder why everyday our children are fighting in High School when we are not giving them very good examples – in particular they have no respect for expat teachers! .

    Nowadays; truly due to this contentious relationship, we Caymanians are truly being excluded or intentionally disadvantaged by SOME expat individuals or expat run companies; however, I personally believe that it is time to rise above the immature BS and find sensible solutions to the mess while still encouraging outside investment and settling WITHOUT disadvantaging our people.

    I just do not understand why it is so difficult to get this done; it really just seems like a lot of common sense and learning from historical mistakes of other leaders, countries and regimes would help enact the proper legislation and policies to overturn the chaos…. which is why learning WORLD HISTORY is so important for leaders and I doubt we have one sitting MLA with a good background in historical politics or even the history of the UK.

    • Anonymous says:

      Very good poster 12:52 however you did not remember to mention the recent history of George Speight and the 2000 coup of Fiji least the people of Cayman should follow that path as Fiji is more similar to Cayman than Uganda.

    • Veritas says:

      I think 12.52 pm should stand in the coming election, he has more common sense than 90% of our locals and expatriates.

      • MM says:

        Scary thought, our politicians drive me nuts and I am not even close to them – spending hours a week person-to-person would probably slip me off my rocker.

        I would however be very happy to provide “policy advice” for free and they can use those millions on something meaningful – but I am sure they would not want to disadvantage the private sector organizations they support with that shady budget item..

  5. Annie says:

    Maybe we can have the Donald come and build a wall around the LA. Seems like all the problem children are there.

    • Anonymous says:

      President Trump come November 8, 2016; then what?

      • Anonymous says:

        Ain’t gonna happen. May as well speculate what if Donald Duck becomes leader of the US. Just ain’t a gonna happen.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t be so sure that the Donald won’t be president. Thought also that he would get to the Primary, look at what happened! This world is getting really strange. I was confident like most people that I spoke to Brexit would never happen but to the contrary it happened. Just saying!

  6. Veritas says:

    Not so. Aprson holding Status by Grant can be permanently deported if he does something naughty. A “Born Caymanian” as the phrase goes, will merely end up in Northward amongst a host of his peers.

    • Anonymous says:

      True that, but could the Premier please explain why this is never done?

      • Veritas says:

        Wrong, check your facts.

      • MM says:

        Because the criminal in question with status appeals to the Immigration board with pleas for mercy because:

        “I have lived here all my life I have no where to go and no one to go to *teardrop*”

        “All of my family is from here and my expat mom/dad did not raise me and I do not know anything about them, my family or my country of birth *teardrop*”

        “Because I was Caymanian when I committed the crime I am unable to regain my birth status or enter my birth country due to my criminal record”

        And the list of excuses go on and on and on….

        • Anonymous says:

          Ah, but how many people are we giving status to who, with hindsight, should never have been given it? Where are the holes in our systems and why? What is being done to address it?

  7. Ani says:

    Column L in the excel spreadsheet for work permits by nationality (7 June 2016) is the ‘permission to continue work’ category which is required to continue working on making a PR application. It is interesting to note that 45% of the PR applicants are possibly either Jamaican or from the Philippines. As an example of the irony of the situation if a number of these applicants applied knowing that their applications would be unsuccessful but were hoping to work and earn for a year longer and also be able to recover their PR application fee prior to leaving (as entitled), the government by its failure to decide on any PR applications has possibly ensured that all of these applications will be successful due to everyone passing the 10 year threshold.

    • Anonymous says:

      Since domestic helpers get more points than any other occupation and points are readily available for anything from church involvement to getting pregnant by a Caymanian (or getting a Caymanian pregnant) I think you grossly underestimate the prospects of many.

  8. MM says:

    What Cayman needs to see is the breakdown of work permits by occupation; this will show that about half the permits held are for jobs that Caymanians do not want for a variety of reasons (waiters, bartenders, domestic helpers, construction laborers, nannies, cooks, cleaners, pizza delivery, cashiers, etc, etc). That leaves 12,000 jobs up for grabs by our people.

    Out of that 12,000 there are about another half that are specialized fields (doctors, surgeons, cardiologists, certain financial positions) – because Cayman does not offer certain courses or education opportunities for these very specialized fields it is safe to say these permits or necessary.

    And then, we have the 6,000 permits left that would perhaps include secretaries, receptionist and other administrative posts that Caymanians should be given the opportunity to fill.

    Soooo, although everyone loves to get themselves in a hissy over these numbers, the reality is the real issue is not that we have 24,000 permits out; it is that we have about 6,000 permits that Caymanians could fill the positions.

    We have approximately 3,000 unemployed Caymanians (they say).

    If Government really wanted to assist with this issue they could review the list of occupations that work permit holders have, compare it to the lists that NWDA have – select candidates and do inquiry on each permit that is active for a position of which a Caymanian applicant registered with the NWDA would suit. Give the company the opportunity to try the Caymanian candidate (while maintaining the permit holder) and if the Caymanian screws up, Government reimburse the pay that the company paid the Caymanian; if the Caymanian successfully passes a 6 month probation – the Caymanian keeps the job and the permit holder is given at least 3 months notice.

    Business are in business to profit and feed their families too; we cannot force anyone to hire people who will not contribute to the overall bottom-line of the company.

    After about one full year of this process we could truly weed out the employable from the unemployable and employ whoever truly wants to work while really having the Immigration department and the NWDA work together to do their dang jobs.

    • Anonymous says:

      So by your count there are 6,000 jobs Caymanians can do because they are…..Caymanians, and all the rest because they are not. I am starting to see a pattern in there.

      • Diogenes says:

        To be fair, the poster is not saying that qualified Caymanians cannot do one of the other 18000 jobs.

        What they are saying is that there are 6000 administrative jobs that Caymanians are prepared to do and which do not require extensive qualifications to do, and they should be afforded an opportunity to do them whilst trying to protect the employer against the consequences should they not be up to it.

        The spirit and intent is entirely in line with the law. However, the poster has not dealt with the issue of cost. How does this proposal address the situation where a Caymanian expects say $12 an hour to be a receptionist, but the employer can hire an expat for $8? Under the current system the employer advertises the position at $8 and gets no local applications. Offering him a Caymanian to try risk free for 6 months does not deal with the fact that its going to be more expensive.

        The immigration law simply doesn’t allow for the issue of low wage competition from overseas employees – and instruments like minimum wage only drive up the cost of doing business. Its a difficult policy choice, but made worse by the fact that there are so many handouts and social support mechanisms in place that unskilled Caymanians actually have limited incentive to take low paid positions.

        If CIG provided a subsidy for employing Caymanians in jobs below a certain hourly wage, and diverted that money from funds they would otherwise spend on the same Caymanians through government assistance programs, the poster may be onto a winner. Far better for someone to be gainfully employed and partially subsidised by CIG to be in employment than have CIG pay the entire cost of supporting that individual and their family. Its a lower cost to the tax payer, and the individual gets a real job with the pride and opportunity for advancement or future employment elsewhere once they demonstrate that they are reliable and a dependable employee that goes with it, rather than being stuck in a continuous dependency cycle.

        • MM says:

          Or the Government can review their ridiculous import duties and decrease the cost of doing business and the cost of living and then businesses can pay reasonable wages and people can actually afford to live on them.

        • Anonymous says:

          Section 44(3)(d) and Section 44(4)(c) of the Immigration Law deal with the issue of wage depression. Of course, the immigration authorities choose not to apply it in many instances, but the power is there.

      • MM says:

        Nope, I said – there are 6,000 they can be given the OPPORTUNITY to do. And the rest because of choosing not to or because the occupations are truly above the heads of what we have been exposed to or given the opportunity to learn due to whatever circumstances each individual has.

    • Anonymous says:

      There ya go, problem solved. Sounds like a plan. Maybe you should advise the premier ……and I am not being sarcastic . This is not rocket science. Don’t give the unemployed a choice. Either work or get off the government tit

    • Anonymous says:

      All secretaries, receptionists etc in our place are Caymanian. In the financial sector they mostly are. Not sure why you would think differently. The brighter hard working ones climb the tree and do well. The others are looked upon as our “tax” for being here.

  9. Anonymous Sad MBA says:

    This is terrible 🙁

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone explain how there are two people on this list from Cayman (line 95)?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. They are BOTC’s of the Cayman Islands (i.e. are Cayman Passport Holders) but are not Caymanian and so require work permits. There are likely many hundreds of persons in this position but they are working illegally.

      • Anonymous says:

        Out of interest, why the thumbs down to that entirely factual comment? Have you not read Auntie’s confirmation as to the difference between being Caymanian and being a BOTC?

      • Anonymous says:

        The elections office and eso do not appear to understand that fact.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are also a number of persons listed as BOTC’s who are likely also persons with Cayman passports (Bermudans and BVI Islanders who are also BOTC’s are listed separately).

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why are Permanent Residents, Exempted Cubans, and the expatriate spouses of Caymanians not being included in these numbers? The answer to “How many non Caymanians are legally working in the Cayman Islands? ” is a hell of a lot more than 24,000.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you can’t figure that out then you should not be asking the question.

      • Anonymous says:

        Are you suggesting that it is calculated to mislead the public as to the numbers of foreign nationals here?

    • I Foreigner too says:

      Because they are no longer expatriates they are now caymanians some by boat some by plain some by 10.000$ marriage deal and soon to be by the phillipinos no rolled over status ( you stay 7 yeara then bring your wife/husban then you go on thei WP as a dependandant then we buy piease a land between all of us and we can just transfer it to each other and walllaaa !! I dont need my peeleepins pasport no mor i can bring my dead granpa bones now

      • Anonymous says:

        You are a simpleton. Only persons who possess the Right to be Caymanian (formerly known as Caymanian Status) are Caymanian. Everyone else is an Expatriate (including PR holders and the expatriate spouses of Caymanians).

      • Anonymous says:


        It’s that easy, huh? ??????????

      • Heather24 says:

        Lol true thing still

    • Anonymous says:

      In Caymankind that’s like a million. Give or take.

    • Anonymous says:

      You bet!! needs to do the Maths problem better your examiner has failed you.

  12. Anonymous says:

    These informative headlines are interesting because they tend to get lot of negative comments towards the incomers. However if you sample work permits to unemployment you will see that a rise in work permits positively effects Cayman unemployment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sir, the moaners do not let minor issues like facts and basic economic theory get in the way of raw prejudice. You are dealing with the local equivalent of Trump voters and Brexit supporters.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please do not compare Trump and Brexit – anyone who really knows anything knows there is no comparison to be made here.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Canadians are not longer second because most of the Canadians that were on work permits now have permanent residency. LOL

    • Anonymous says:

      Or absconded with the loot.

    • Anonymous says:

      So true, I am one of them and know at least another 100 that now have PR/Status.

    • Anonymous says:

      Either that or they left. Canada a nice country it’s not like Canadians suffer there.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ya canada is legit.

      • Anonymous says:

        They sure don’t want to stay there. Cayman is nice too, and it’s people don’t travel around the world seeking permanent residence or citizenship. Perhaps , as “nice” as Canada may be it needs to create jobs in their country so that its people won’t try making claim to another nations land, by remaining in their country for 10 years on work permits and then applying for residency.

        • Diogenes says:

          If Cayman could provide the numbers of qualified personnel to do all the jobs that Canadians do here they wouldn’t be able to come. But unless the domestic population expands hugely, and the education system starts churning out far higher numbers of people with decent qualifications, I am afraid you are stuck with expats. As for staying for 10 years, guess what bud, it ain’t the Canadians that write the immigration laws, its Caymanian politicians.

          • Anonymous says:

            Actually the laws are written by persons mostly from the Eastern Caribbean and most are not Caymanian, let alone Caymanian politicians.

        • Anonymous says:

          Funny how Camanian never consider how many of us end up living in other countries – lol

  14. Anonymous says:

    this is awesome!

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