English test backlog stops seasonal workers

| 08/12/2017 | 85 Comments

(CNS) UPDATED MONDAY: The Department of Immigration has confirmed that as it does all it can to address a backlog of applications for English tests for overseas workers, those needed for Christmas work, especially in the tourism sector that have a permit, have 30 days before they must fill their obligation to complete the language test. A number of local employers in the hospitality sector told CNS last week that they were facing problems over the busy holiday season as they cannot get their permits confirmed because the test sittings are backed up.

In response to enquiries by CNS, immigration officials confirmed that there has been a recent influx of applications for the English Language Testing (ELT) and a backlog has developed, but the department was re-directing resources to tackle it.

“We have seen an increase in the overall number of work permits, along with an increase in compliance checks for persons renewing work permits,” Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith said, noting that DOI staff are currently conducting the tests four days a week, administering between 12 to 16 tests each day.

“We have two staff members who are committed to overseeing the ELT process, and we are seeking to allocate additional resources to ensure our commitment to customer satisfaction is met on a daily basis,” he added.

Smith said the department understands the implications for employers and was actively working to increase resources and reduce delays.

Employers have told CNS that they have staff members that they need on the job right now to meet their business needs, but before they can work they must sit the test and are being told that they cannot do so until January.

In response to CNS enquiries, Smith said the department was continuing to book people in for the free testing service, but did not indicate if the department would be able to catch up and eliminate the delays in time for holiday staff to be on the job before Christmas.

Officials told CNS that the delays are not because a number immigration staff members are currently on required leave. The department has been plagued this year by an increase in staff members who have been suspended, some as a result of alleged involvement in a corruption scandal relating to the permanent residency culture test. The DOI has said that none of the immigration employees on required leave, for whatever reason, are involved in the ELT.

The backlog appears to be down to an increase in permit applications for staff from non-English speaking nations.

To avoid delays, employers can arrange for staff coming to Cayman to get tested at accredited centres in their home nations before they arrive.

“An alternative to being tested in Grand Cayman is that the Department will accept ELT test scores from overseas tests centres, namely, International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) and Test of English for English International Communication (TOEIC),” Smith said.

More information about the testing is available on the website here.

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Category: Jobs, Local News

Comments (85)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It was most disgusting and hurtful to hear of those Hondurans who was on our Streets all along the Caymana Bay Area with pots and pans beating after the results of the Honduran Election. One of the women who was being reprimanded for it said that she was not for neither partys but thought that it was so much fun to be a part of the group on the road. Its stupes like these that we should not be wasting no time on with an English test. If people are so foolish then they don’t belong to here. Can our Government look into this if there is not a law to stop it. Some of us only see what the Jamaican does? So many Caymanians was so upset over this while their hands were tied. I know that Mr Ezzard will look into this matter as he is one Caymanian who is not afraid to tackle what is wrong.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    We had a colleague from another office come here for training for 7 days so he could do a better job of selling Cayman overseas, a proper temporary WP was granted for those days,etc, even though he wasn’t to be paid here but rather by his own office. He had to sit the exam on arrival….seriously?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Trump for pointing out what nobody spoke out against and is why he will win in 2020: Cheap Labour endorsed by patriotic business owners are ruining our country.

    Your country is being suckered by the same type of patriotic caymaninan business owners.

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    • Anonymous says:

      And you think trump used anything but cheap labor? I think you need to do more research before making such a stupid statement.

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      • Anonymous says:

        And he admitted himself that when he was a business man and looked out for the profit line, he found the same loop holes in the law just like all his fellow business men, hence why he now knows where the loop holes are and what needs to be done to stitch them up

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        • Anonymous says:

          Lord Butterball is liar and a bigot. We should not do anything just because he was elected for spouting something.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So naive, Trump uses cheap foreign labour for his projects in the past and present. Look at Mar-a-Lago, look at his past with polish illegal immigrants. Next you are going to tell us that Trump’s trickle down economics is for anyone but the top 1% and huge corporations. Go to a Trump branded hotel, see where all the accoutrements are made i’ll guarantee you it’s not in the USA.

      Also large distinction between us and the US, while the US is fully capable of staffing every job currently held by illegal immigrants with it’s population(not that americans would ever stoop that low, and pick their own avocados and the like) in Cayman there is a labour shortage (more jobs than there are people in laymans terms, just for you trumptard) Hence outside workers must be found, Cayman has no other choice.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    The real question is not why there is such a back-log in regards to the English Test for work permit purposes, but rather why there is such a high need to employ people from non-English speaking countries? We all know that this has a lot to do with exploitation of people from lesser privileged countries and that’s what the Government needs to put a stop too.

    Also, why does Government allow work permits for “barely” English Speakers in positions which require frequent interaction with customers/clients, such as receptionist, waitress, sales person etc. ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      If you were half smart you could answer those questions yourself. If you could remember things you would have realized those questions have been answered again and again.

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      • Anonymous says:

        the post was tongue and cheek so to speak – in other words, to state the obvious! Guess you didn’t get that!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many local school kids would pass the English test…not too many I would think.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Sad but true. But lack of ability in Maths is the real downfall. Most new hires cannot even convert USD to KYD. They are clueless, and I wonder what we are spending so much money on.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As long as there is no job interview, where they have to present themselves or speak in person to anyone with ears

      Our legislators worry about guys with long hair, earrings and shoe colors while our students destroy the English language, God forbid a man have long hair in the 21st century

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s ok to think positive for once. Try it

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Can relate! I went to a my usual beauty salon and there was a new girl. When she was washing my hair I asked her if she was from the Phillipenes. She answered yes. When chatting to the owner after, she told me the girl was from Honduras!! Go figure!!

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  7. Gray matter says:

    Ordered a Appleton Rum and Coke. 20 min later I got an Rose Red Apple and and a can Coke.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    If you want English speaking people why aare we not getting people from America, Canada, England Ireland, Scotland and Wales I believe they speak English there.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because they will not work for slave wages.

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    • Anonymous says:

      because they wouldn’t be working for pathetic wages and without benefits

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    • Anonymous says:

      You already aaaaare getting people from there and more. Why do you not see them?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Err, have you ever heard someone from Scotland speak?

    • Richie Franks says:

      I am American, and I used to work on island. I got sick of being treated like a second-class citizen because I was a foreign worker, so I left. This is pretty common so less and less people from these countries are interested in working in Cayman. Therefore now there are more people from non-English speaking countries that come solely for the paycheck, and send most of it home.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    There has to be some employed Caymanians who would be delighted to fill these jobs.

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  10. West bay Premier says:

    If the Immigration is having troubles with the English test, imagine what the customers / guests are going to have .

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  11. Wondering.. says:

    Fitness for purpose would be helpful too; wife and I still laughing at waitress from overseas at well known beach bar and restaurant who didn’t have a clue what a “Perrier” was!!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Hire Caymanians. We look sexy in bikini tops late at night in bars too

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    • Anonymous says:

      Especially the men. Gorgeous in bikini tops.

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    • Anonymous says:

      But you dont show up for work

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    • Anonymous says:

      Typical private sector response to their incompetence. Blame the civil service.

      Why don’t they hire more Caymanians or implement training programmes like the fantastic apprentice programme at the government public works department.

      Or hire workers from USA Canada or UK.

      Oh wait you can’t abuse workers from those countries and pay them poor wages.

      Come on private sector time to step up and follow the civil service.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Think customers would rather be served and not short changed.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah but the Caymanian men that own the bars can’t have their way with the Caymanian barmaids.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The larger figure is more of niche market.

  13. Anonymous says:

    My partner has a French passport but speaks fluent English and is a qualified TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Despite that she was required to pass ELT on her intial WP application. Yet I can go into several bars in the GT area where the young, attractive female servers don’t speak a word of English. There’s something screwy going on here.

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  14. The Wonder Year’s says:

    Cayman needs to change its laws on youngsters who are here as dependents of parents on work permit.
    There are so many capable young people growing up here, willing to work For both work experience AND some cash for the holidays but they are not allowed.
    If you are 14-24, registered as a student and you are named in a parents work permit as a dependent you should be allowed to work and get paid a minimum wage. It will integrate our youth more, and reduce the begging youngsters at grocery stores trying to fund their school trips and allow them instead to pay their own way in life by getting a job.
    How many of you had a weekend/summer job? Well here it’s not allowed for any “expat” kid. I learnt work ethic, money management and time management in my summer jobs and bought my first car that way too. Let’s review this Immigration legal folk.

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    • Caymanian slave patriot says:

      No. What Cayman Islands needs to do is stop letting in every Tom, Dick and Harry that wants to bring their spawn into this country.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So, your offspring are “children” and theirs are “spawn”? );

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      • Veritas says:

        So Mr Slave Patriot, what do we call your children – puppies?.

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        • Caymanian slave patriot says:

          Native will work just fine.

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          • Anonymous says:

            “Child of racist” works better.

            • Caymanian slave patriot says:

              Yea yea! That has to be it! It can’t be that i’m referring to the congested population of this tiny island.

              Pulling the race card for no good reason usually signals that you’re the racist and, perhaps you’re one of the few who would love to see Cayman free of Caymanians.

        • Anonymous says:

          No. Children who I do all I can to nurture and support so that they can be contributing members of society and pay for the needs of the many children from overseas who are destined to be a financial burden on our society due to failing education systems and absent parenting.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cheap, imported labour dashed all chances of weekend / summer jobs for young people in Cayman – “expat kid” or otherwise…and often the placeholder speaks very little English.

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      • Anonymous says:

        That’s happening all over the English speaking first world

        • Anonymous says:

          Except we have laws designed and intended to prevent it.

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        • Anonymous says:

          It is happening all over the first world – English speaking and otherwise.

          Also, would Cayman then be “Premier World”?
          I ask because so many “first world” citizens leave their home countries and come here with no intention of ever returning.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Ooh, there are some big time players on this Island with antebellum mentality. Some high up, who are basically slave masters. Disgusting, but untouchable.

  15. Diogenes says:

    Another day another CIG backlog

    Diogenes

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    • Fail ro plan says:

      This is good for my business less compteition. I plan ahead and got through. Your lack of planning is not a crisis. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail. Or you could hire Caymanians. What a new concept.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    no comprende?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Usual nonsense from the civil service….

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Que?

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  19. anonymous says:

    All bureaucracy in Cayman is long-winded and slow. Make it an online test, get them in and out in 15 minutes. Most workers need to be computer literate as well so kill 2 birds with one stone, to coin a phrase.. Get with the modern world Cayman – time is running out!

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  20. Jordan Mclaughlin says:

    Tell the businesses getting held up on their “seasonal workers” permit to hire Caymanians and let Immigration continue to clean up their mess.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    I have never understood why immigration has an English exam. It would simply be a poor business decision to employ someone who cannot communicate with customers. We have tourists for all over the world there are many who cannot speak English, so what?
    A few years ago one of the local radio stations had a news reader from New Zealand. This person’s English was so different from locals’ that the person was removed from the job. Immigration should drop the exam and those businesses that employ non English speakers will quickly pay the price.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Some workers communicate by means other than words.

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    • Anonymous says:

      but the bulk of communication in cayman is in english

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    • Anonymous says:

      Suggest the same to America, the UK, or Australia and let us know what they told you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      amazing that i have heard a push by some caymanians to learn to speak other languages notably spanish. But you want spanish speaking people not to take an english test? The other side of this story is that while these people will work their problems with english will result in service problems. they will not say honduras has bad service they will say cayman.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    Put some of those on paid suspension on the project.

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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      Putting people who are on paid suspension for alleged corruption in charge of administering a necessary test for an employee to have a work permit – what could possibly go wrong?

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