Lawyers blame ‘invisible hand’ in PR debacle

| 12/06/2017 | 53 Comments

(CNS): With no further movement by the relevant board to begin hearing the backlog of stalled permanent residency applications, one local law firm representing many of the people whose applications are waiting to be heard have accused an “invisible hand” of continuing to stall the process. More than three months have passed since the regulations were adjusted to meet legal concerns about the point system, but with the exception of two cases that already reached the courts, no further PR grants have been made and the firm is inviting people to join a class action.

In what has now become a regular newsletter-style update to all of the applicants being represented by HSM, Nick Joseph a partner with the firm, said the immigration department has said that things were “still processing”, which Joseph said infers that the department is still a long way from even listing applications for hearing.

He said that in its latest response, the department said it was “working closely with the ministry to give effect to the way forward, and that applications will be dealt with in the order in which they were received”.  

Joseph stated in the round-up email, “There seems to be an ‘invisible hand’ preventing progress. If that assumption is correct, whose it is, and where they sit, is yet to be understood or determined.”

He noted that the only applications being considered are those at the doorstep of the court-house. He said the firm was no longer encouraging restraint on that front and indicated that preparations were underway for class action for those interested at cut rates.

“We have repeatedly impressed on the authorities, and for some time, that for many of you the delays have long crossed the line as to what we consider to be lawful,” he said, raising concerns that there was no indication this was going to change.

“There is a nervousness expressed by some of you as to the consequences of taking on the government. I remain firmly of the view that in official circles there will be none. We are a country of laws that respects the rights of individuals including without regard to national origin,” Joseph added.

Pointing to the advantages of a class action, he said that there was “strength and increased anonymity in numbers” as well as “increased efficiency”. He added that if anyone who has been waiting for more than twelve months wants to “pursue remedy through the courts in unison with others, we are prepared to proceed”.

He said that only applicants confident of qualification under the points system who have been waiting for more than twelve months should consider court action,. The process, he said, starts with a “letter before action”, which he hoped would be “all that is necessary to spur consideration”.

While the issue has brought a backlash on social media from some Caymanians, Joseph pointed out that not dealing with these cases is detrimental for local workers as well, because “so long as an applicant for Permanent Residence is awaiting a determination of their application, no Caymanian has any opportunity to compete with them for employment. Expatriates are far from the only ones being harmed by the status quo.”

No cases have been heard by the board since the end of 2013, leaving some applicants waiting for more than three and a half years, creating a mounting catalogue of problems for them, including children reaching important threshold ages and applicants’ careers being on the line. 

“Even without such considerations comes nagging uncertainty, and the seemingly irrational, unreasonable, disproportionate… 6-monthly blood checks and police record requirements, with associated expense and disruption.” he noted.

With no evidence that anything is happening and no requests from the authorities for updated information from any applicants, Joseph said that HSM does not know why the delays continue.

He highlighted specific problems some families face and suggested that processing applications in the order they were made is not be the best way to tackle the problem, even when the boards begin hearing applications again. He warned that this approach risks making very large numbers of currently up-to-date applications stale, compounding problems for qualified applicants.

Joseph said that “years of assurances that the wait would soon be over have unfortunately not come to fruition”, and warned, “We also regrettably cannot be confident that there will be no attempt to again amend the regulations and to do so in a manner which harms existing applicants.” 

However, he said that changes that would disadvantage pending applications would be challenged in court.

Setting out the process for the class action, he said he hoped that letters warning the authorities of the intention to go to court should be enough “to spur consideration” of an application.

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Comments (53)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You buying property and investing on the island does not guarantee your PR. You expats need to understand that.The law clearly states it will gain points towards possibly obtaining PR. Secondly what the F does the cayman islands and our ppl owe you!?! NOTHING so how can you cry and wine like baby’s when you don’t get what you want…we don’t care if have a bunch of money and to be quite honest 30% of you came here with nothing nada case the previous owner to Ritz so please we the people of these island welcome the expats who follow the rule wholeheartedly not the ones who push there money around because they believe they money so there better than everyone else.

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    • Anonymous says:

      wat

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow what a hateful person you are.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The law requires a functional path to citizenship, and an answer (one way or another) within a reasonable one year time frame. It is not reasonable to take 5 yrs or longer to review the 6 page application and deliver the verdict. It makes it very hard for these households to plan their future, and risks having rejects lingering in Cayman beyond the 10yr timeframe that rollover was designed to prevent.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Glad I left Cayman many years ago, and now I am now working at the US immigration Dept. Cayman must have pissed off a whole lot of people because the recommendation coming out of committees are to slow the flow of coming from Cayman because the crime they bring is disproportion and a retroactive ban on anchor babies. So maybe there will be a mass exodus of Caymans, rich and poor, to go back to where they belong and stop sucking off the teat of US resources. I am going to recommend that it would be great to put a ban on Cayman like Cuba and see what all those tough talking Caymans have to say about how great their country is that they play around with US citizens whose paychecks pay for their lives. Go ahead, and bite the hand that has fed you for years.

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    • Anonymous says:

      11.14pm From the tone of your post I must say that you did Caymanians a favour by leaving.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Glad you’re not here either. Hard to understand exactly what it is you’re trying to say. I suspect you wouldn’t pass an English test to return to Cayman anyway. We keep wondering how so many seem to be able to smuggle animals, bullets and drugs into Cayman right under noses of US authorities. If you’re any indication of the staff they have, we just might have figured out the problem. Good luck to you anyway.

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    • Cassawa says:

      So if you happily left years ago, why are you still interested in us, bobo? You don’t see me texting my ex.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Glad you’re not here, Caymans will survive without US help, and we have done it for hundreds of years. Not a cent of any income or investment has come from the US. You are misrepresenting Cayman history and all the heroes that have built this country using their own hands, not the US. I don’t know of any Cayman business owners that do business with the US so stop spreading your lies. This is why Cayman should go back to its roots and grant mass PR status to Jamaicans, they are the only ones who deserve to rule this country.

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  3. Invisible Hand says:

    We are going to discuss it at the next lodge meeting

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  4. Clive says:

    Why not just send them all home and let them reapply after 2 years of coming back? I don’t see why or what we owe them?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Come on National Unity Government..Unite. Bring back the three year rollover. In other words “no permits for longer than 3 years’. In certain jobs you will get a 3 year permit which would allow enough time to train a Caymanian. If this does not happen ,you still have to leave,tough luck but you are out.That way we will put a stop to this entitlement mentality that causes some expats on work permits to believe that because they ‘graced’us with their presence that they are entitled to stay as long as they choose.You are a guest worker nothing more.

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    • Jotnar says:

      What about the foreign owned business that rely on guest workers, or the financial services industry that require more experienced staff than can be found locally and don’t want to have to turn over their staff pool every 3 years when they could switch to BVI where there’s no problem.? You happy to lose their business as well, along with all the revenue – about 60% of the governments entire revenue at last count. The revenue that pays for everything government spends on from free education, the civil service employing 6000 Caymanians, to Cayman Airways and the NAU? Happy to lose that too?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The twilight-zone parallel universe that is Cayman today.

    Can we imagine a similar headline of class action by immigrants / foreigners / expats in the USA or UK today?

    Furthermore, and as I always say, none of those countries are anywhere near our 1:1 native:immigrant population.

    Actually, counter legal action with the aim to safeguard national security would not go amiss right about now.

    Surely many would protest, however, I challenge them to provide a valid argument with supplemental reference to a comparable jurisdiction of similar circumstances.

    Immigration can literally destroy the economic and societal miracle that is / was the Cayman Islands – and this is coming from a Caymanian of foreign parentage.

    The typical debate regarding immigration does NOT apply in our case – and counter-arguments on those bases are not worth entertaining.

    – Whodatis

    P.S. If we let the anonymous (therefore honest) CNS crowd tell it – we are a backward, hateful, turtle-eating nation with “no culture”. (Makes one question the wisdom of growing our population at the current rate with these deplorable pickings.)

    However, stories like these obliterate all such opinions and literally proves us the better choice of apparently almost every other country on earth.

    Awesome.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps to counter your argument a little, can you imagine a situation where the Government in the USA/UK etc ignored their own laws on immigration? At present there are around 250 people per year applying for PR, these same people have been here 10-15 years, they haven’t been parachuted in overnight, they are part of the society you claim they will destroy, admittedly some have integrated better than others. They have been reviewed at every turn by immigration to prove there worth. If the law is wrong then Government needs to change it, not bury their heads and hope it goes away. This isn’t the expat’s fault, it’s our Government’s fault, 100%.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I didn’t say expats will destroy the society, I said immigration carries the potential to destroy what has been created here – there is a difference.

        I wholeheartedly agree our current state of affairs is the “fault” of our successive governments and I also do not blame expats in that respect. Actually, it is more due to a lack of enforcement of existing laws and policies as the legislation is relatively decent.

        However, regardless of what action is taken to change the circumstances, there will be major pushback and criticism by the thousands and never-ending stream of individuals and families seeking permanent residence in the Cayman Islands.

        This issue is not going away anytime soon as every one and their granny expects to stay here forever.

        Cayman simply does not have the space or resources to accommodate all that wish to remain. Nevertheless, this truth falls on deaf ears and the tide only grows. Meanwhile, local employment also grows, crime rises, and the local middle class erodes.

        It is not difficult to predict where this story ends.

        – Who

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Master Hand from Super Smash Bros N64!?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I must be missing something here but all this criticism of Cayman and Caymanians but yet still fighting to stay here? I am all for those who contribute in a positive way to stay here and be a part of Cayman but we are not Naïve to think that this will not have a negative impact as well. Take for example the law firm scholarships it will be interesting to see how many generational Caymanians will get going forward. They will now be competing with the expats kids and it will boil down to who’s dad lives next door in the expats communities.
    Saying this- I still do not think it is right to not have dealt with the PR applications in a timely manner and we must deal with the consequences of this mistake.

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    • Anonymous says:

      That is the only thing we are asking, have clear rules and respect them. If you had told us from day one that after 6 years we had to go nobody would be complaining, but the law told us that if we committed and invest we could stay and now we have been in limbo with all our capital tied up in a Cayman house for over 3 years.

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      • Anonymous says:

        3.47pm Of course since your property is in cayman that means that the value of your property has increased. Hence you have actually profited ,not lost, over those 3 years.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Did you also invest in a house in your home country during this time?

        No?

        Ok then, you were working the system from the very start, never had an intention to leave, and now seek sympathy through the back door.

        Y’all have zero shame with this “woe is me” bullcrap mantra.

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      • Anonymous says:

        We were told we had to apply for PR at 8 years. There was no option to waive the path to citizenship and keep paying a permit fee. The uncertainty that gets thrown into this equation prevents reasonable expats from deploying more capital locally- i.e. buying bigger lots and building homes that would provide sustainable opportunity for many Caymanians.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yup, and all a direct result of a total abdication by our government to follow our own laws. Do not blame the newer Caymanians though. It is not their fault. It is the fault of our Caymanian politicians and a generation of underhanded dealings.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    It should be simple. If an applicant does not qualify, there answer should be relayed to the person swiftly. I agree we should not hold people’s lives in limbo…that being said there’s more to this story that we the public are not privy to. Certainly my opinion if this was THE DONALD a lot of you would be packing your bags like the rest of us. I am American but I find it quite ridiculous to force a nation that welcomed you here to begin and we the expats try to sue for rights to be here. You people are beyond saving. Certainly if your willing to push you weight and heavy bucks to get what you want you don’t deserve to be here. If you qualify you do have the right to be heard by the courts if not let’s be real and pack your bags like the rest of us when our time is finished.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Do you expect to have to take the government to court every time you want them to follow a law that they themselves introduced?

      Why should anyone be out of pocket for having to do that?

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    • Anonymous says:

      You’re right when you say those who don’t qualify should be told swiftly so they can – literally – move on. But it isn’t only a load of wealthy expats throwing their weight around…they’ve done what the Cayman Islands Government invited them to do, and having gathered the necessary requisites – have applied for PR. If the Gov doesn’t want people to have PR then they shouldn’t advertise it for sale. If they’re qualified, they’re qualified – give it to them and be done with. If not – tell them it’s time to leave.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Most importantly, why aren’t we telling those that don’t qualify, and aren’t contributing, to leave without delay. Don’t let them apply at 8 years and allow them to linger beyond 10 solely because of political dithering. We do it to ourselves!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m thinking we need a class action approval of everyone concerned we haven’t been to jail and MoveOn

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Same old, same old. Immigration making excuses and causing delays again. Over the years I’ve lost track of the number of times they’ve lost WP paperwork and made the simple things in life difficult. I just hope this time they get their collective arses sued because it’s long overdue.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    What about the Privy Council?.There is definitely a Privy involved in all these cases as our Caymanian politicians seem to have flushed all the applications down their toilet.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    If only 500 of the applicants file their applications seeking leave or Judicial Review at conservative legal cost estimate of $5000 per applicant that equates to CIG paying $2.5m. The estimate excludes damages and no further litigation in the actual Judicial Review proceedings. Where will CIG find this money.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot to include interest. Mr XXXXX claimed in excess of $5k interest which is at 8% per annum since he filed his application. This would amount to a further $2.5m. At this rate there will be no funds available for Mr Eden’s internment camp for the LGBT community.

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  14. Low-Cal says:

    SMH!

    Here comes the mass status grants again. This time, please just take the time grant it to those who are deserving and do not do a give away to every hokey supporter like the last time.

    Cayman does not need anymore poverty!There is enough poor Caymanian’s already here.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I do not think this situation is a result of incompetence. This situation has been carefully controlled.
    There will be a judgement for these people soon and the other 150,000 coming after them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I really believe it is incompetence. Tainted by prejudice, arrogance, and ignorance, but still incompetence.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Waiting for the Maradonna “hand of God” argument from Eden supporters..

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  17. Annamouse says:

    I whole-heartedly encourage Mr. Joseph to see the backside off the CIG. We have moved beyond ridiculous.

    Further there should be a way to scan through the pile and sort things into three groups:

    1. Definitely
    2. Maybe
    3. Snowball’s chance

    In theory that should mean a large % of applications could be dealt with quickly just leaving those PR applications in the middle to work their way through the system.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are right!! This offers an opportunity to update the PR applicant’s merit. I’m sorry to say that I wrote a letter of reference 2.5 years ago for someone and since that day they never volunteered again so I now will rescind my recommendation. The sword cuts both ways and I hope those waiting to be judged are willing to insure their good standing has not changed?

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      • Anonymous says:

        1.24pm. They’ve made up your lost points and more through the 15 points allotted for their employment and further payments towards their mortgage. It does indeed cut both ways but with the delays by Immigration it leans heavily in favour of the PR applicants.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What about the full time employees who were paid to sort through and shepherd these applications for years…what was the performance benchmark used to qualify them year after year to remain on public payroll? Care to comment Franz?

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      • Fred the Piemaker says:

        To be fair, not much a civil servant can do to process an application if thy are told that its government policy not to pending “clarification” of the rules and process, and the legal report commenting on the applicants rights and CIGs options is given the deep six. The invisible hand pretty damn visible if you ask me.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    “We are a country of laws that respects the rights of individuals including without regard to national origin,” Joseph added”. All evidence to the contrary.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Apart from the legal costs and the damages still to be determined that CIG will have to pay to the two successful applicants that have been granted PR after approaching the Courts, we now have the situation where a few hundred more people may be following the same route and will be granted PR with legal costs and damages due to delays in excess of one year. Immigration have no choice but to grant these applicants PR as they are bound to follow the Privy Council decision which ruled that any delays over a year is unlawful. Well done Mr Premier you will responsible for overseeing a massive PR grant through incompetence of the departments under your remit in the previous administration. Only this time it will cost CIG large amounts in respect of legal costs and damages.This money could have been spent on schooling or more realistically increased salaries for the MLAs.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Ah..the old invisible had, huh? Things get delayed, forgotten about…nope, never seen that happen here.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Proper fix needed urgently…has been for years….the chickens are coming home to roost.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Governor? What say you? This is beyond ridiculous.

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    • Anon says:

      You think she cares! You know that most governor’s are appointed governorships of foreign outposts as their retirement farewell easy way out of British civil service life. She’s here for the beach and to chill. Not to care. Can’t blame her. It’s a mess and government got themselves in this situation, they will have to get themselves out.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Governor appears as mute and indifferent as any other civil servant who should have prevented this calamity. We should demand our money back! What has she (and the rest of them) been paid for?

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Here it comes…this inaction, predictably, is going to cost ALL Caymanians through expensive, merit-based, settlements. Ignoring the Ritch Report is coming home to roost.

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