(CNS): With around 1,000 outstanding permanent residency applications still waiting to be considered, the new team of immigration administrators now assisting the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board have helped to pick up the pace, doubling the rate of reviews in their first week. The team processed 20 applications after working for just two days. Officials said that they will increase the time spent on PR applications to three days next week to accelerate the process.
Following three years of well-documented controversy over the stalled process, the new admin team began assisting the board on Tuesday, 25 July, and met for two days, getting through 20 applications. The team granted residency to only one applicant while 12 were refused, five deferred and two withdrawn.
To date, 73 applications have now been reviewed since the process re-started in May. In total, 14 were approved, 28 refused, 22 deferred, six were withdrawn and three did not qualify because the application was received after the nine-year cut-off point.
Chief Officer for the Ministry of Immigration Wesley Howell thanked the new team of administrators who he said had successfully taken on the challenge to help alleviate the PR backlog burden. “With the administrators working three days a week, along with the work done by the CSPR Board, the total number of applications being processed weekly will obviously be increasing,” he said.
The issue has been a political dilemma for the government. On the one hand, it is causing considerable concern among employers who have become increasingly agitated with the uncertainty about the status of workers and the constant need to renew temporary rights to work. But local people as well have been extremely concerned that the legal implications would ultimately lead to another mass status grant. Premier Alden McLaughlin has however, made public commitments that this will not be the case.
Walking something of a political tightrope on this issue, McLaughlin, who has responsibility for immigration, said he applauded the efforts to double the applications being reviewed and the commitment to further increase productivity. “I look forward to the team’s collaborative efforts, as the government and ministry will continue to pursue this matter as a top priority,” he added.