Premier signals radical shift in immigration

| 22/01/2018 | 57 Comments

(CNS): The premier has said the coming changes in his ministry to establish a National Human Resources Department will be a “radical shift” in how government deals with the issue of immigration and the local workforce. Since the formation of the Government of National Unity in the wake of the elections, Premier Alden McLaughlin has indicated on several occasions that addressing this issue is a priority for this new administration and he told members of the Chamber of Commerce last week that a review of immigration legislation was already underway.

But despite previous assurances that the changes to immigration and labour processes would be done in consultation with the business community, Chamber President Kyle Broadhurst noted in his own address at Wednesday’s lunch event that the organisation had not yet been consulted about the plans.

“We need to work collaboratively,” he told the audience. “At this time, there has been limited private sector involvement in this initiative. Given that the private sector supports change and it is the private sector which will be asked to adhere to and implement new policies and procedures, it cannot be that a new system is implemented without consultation. To do so runs the risk of simply creating new problems and uncertainty.”

Broadhurst said there had to be “open and frank dialogue to ensure that the changes are proportionate and effective”.  He said it may be that the government wasn’t ready yet to present its proposals to the private sector for discussion, but he urged government to confirm its commitment to dialogue soon and well before implementation, as he raised concerns that whatever changes there are do not stop businesses getting the labour they need.

In his address McLaughlin said there would be consultation with the private sector. He said the aim was to encompass the main administrative functions related to immigration — processing applications for the grant of work permits, permanent residency, and Caymanian status and the relevant functions relating to the labour market — into one place.

“This will not merely be an exercise of rearranging the bureaucratic deck chairs, merging functional aspects of the National Workforce Development Agency and the Department of Immigration. It is clear that a radical shift is necessary in order to modernise the strategies, services and processes if we are to build effective workforce readiness skills in conjunction with an efficient, fair and transparent work permit and permanent residency regime,” the premier said. “Work has already started to review the existing Immigration Law and Regulations and fix identified issues.”

The premier added that the “problems are complex” and the “fix is not simple but we are committed to providing the people of these islands with a modern, fair and workable immigration system”.

Broadhurst had raised a number of concerns in his speech that illustrate the fear of the business community about how immigration would be changed, but he also emphasised the need to protect local workers. But given the size of the local job market versus the local labour force, he made it clear the private sector would always need clear access to overseas workers.

Talking about the need for an honest dialogue in Cayman about labour issues, he said it was common ground that there is currently “dissatisfaction on all fronts”.

“Business needs certainty in order to be able to be successful,” Broadhurst stated. “Arbitrary decisions, or unclear requirements or policies, creates uncertainty and makes it harder for businesses to compete. At the same time, there are complaints that Caymanians are not being provided opportunities for employment or to advance. Both sides want these matters addressed.”

Pointing out the need to work from facts rather than anecdotal evidence, he said that with around 1,500 unemployed people, it was time to see what the barriers to work are for individuals. Given that Cayman would always need expat workers, he said, the community should not fall into the trap of thinking that there must be  a “Caymanian in every job”, which was not possible, but rather having a “job for every Caymanian”.

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Category: Business, Jobs, Local News, Policy, Politics

Comments (57)

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  1. Anon says:

    Immigration is as much a cultural issue as it is an economic one. If a country has so large a violent crime problem that tourists cannot safely leave their resorts and the army is called in to restore order, then that is NOT a place from which you want immigrants! It does not matter how hard they work or how at what rate. SEND THEM BACK! Likewise, if expats, no matter how talented, are unwilling to include native Caymanians in business activities then they should go too. The bottom line is that the Immigration system shoud be designed entirely to benefit NATIVE Caymanians. If it also benefits the immigrant, then well and good. If not, then they have to go back. Cayman First!




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  2. Anonymous says:

    There is no need to work out the barriers to employment for the allegedly unemployment. Smoking crack is a big barrier. Drinking all the time is a big barrier. Being a convicted criminal is a big barrier. Choosing not to take one of the many available jobs that are available is a big barrier. Take these out of the numbers and unemployment is pretty close to zero.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    But hold on…. didn’t the PPM make changes to the immigration law in 2013?? Wasn’t that supposed to address some of the problems we are still having today? But yet… we have people that have left because of the pension law, unemployed caymanian’s that can’t get work though they are qualified, increased number of work permits and hundreds of persons now with residency. Boy Alden when you and your party touches things…. it sends us further down the rabbit hole. The scary thing is I’m not sure if we will ever get back out with you as the leader/Premier! Alden, you have some real, tough decisions to make if a honest and real approach to change and the priority of the caymanian people is taken with immigration in this country. #Stand for something #we need leadership




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  4. Cayman Stand says:

    Radical shift radical shift don’t make me laugh only thing radical about the premier and his trusty cohort Babushka is just how foolish and comfortably numb they have become whilst destroying their own people




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    • Diogenes says:

      Using “Comfortably Numb” in relation to Caymanian politicians
      Y’all are ruining Pink Floyd for me

      But in all seriousness “The Wall’ is one of the best Rock albums of all time




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      • Anonymous says:

        Prog rock. Not rock.




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        • Diogenes says:

          While specificity is great, I do believe that progressive rock falls into the overall rock category, correct?

          Just a theory

          Diogenes




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          • Anonymous says:

            I believe very strongly that it falls outside. Close to but outside. To much art and thinking, not enough testosterone. The practical judge of whether something is rock is whether rock chicks dig it. They don’t do Floyd. Floyd is straying into Emosville and places where degrees in arts are valued.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Boarder control and Immigration Control to stop CRIME!!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, stop those boarders! Coming in here and spending money on rent, how dare they! In the meantime if they could get a grip of border control, it would be fantastic.




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  6. Z Hand says:

    Yes Alden stop hiring Foreign Police to fleece our economy We have the highest amount of police per capita in the world so much so that we can lend police to other territories. Stop this hemorrhaging of our economy to pay for what exactly????Crime is increasing because they are inviting and bringing their own criminal dynamic to our shores. We do not need 75 more police officers its is ridiculous.




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    • West bay Premier says:

      He won’t do anything about crime because that keeps the system and his cronies occupied . I say if he doesn’t want to anything about crime , get rid of him and get someone that will .




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  7. Anonymous says:

    Would be a step in the right direction to improve education so there was less dependency on overseas workers for many of the specialist jobs.

    I’m an immigrant (I don’t like the term expat, we’re immigrants, just like everyone else arriving), brought in from the UK for my skills and experience, which are unique in Cayman. I would love to train a Caymanian to do my job when I leave, but the basic skills required are simply not to be found here at the moment.

    I love this country, but populism and the soundbite politics of talk radio hosts will only lead to division and regression.




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    • Jotnar says:

      Sorry to tell you, but if you plan to leave you are not an immigrant. And calling yourself one with all the connotations that has will simply exacerbate the divisions you refer to.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m not planning to leave, but I’m not presuming I will be permitted to stay.
        Back in the UK, and in Europe, there is an arrogance among brits who call people moving to the UK immigrants (with all the negative connotations), yet brits living overseas get to avoid the stigma with the term Expat. I’ve always found it to be an unpleasant double standard.

        Hilariously, the English Defense League (far right anti-immigration pseudo-political thugs, if you’d not heard of them) have a chapter made up of “expats” who live in Spain!

        I am fairly new to this country, so I’m still learning my way around the political landscape.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Another leftie liberal who is frightened of ‘offending’ some fragile millennial who can’t handle life in the real world.
          Listen you wet lettuce, don’t stand from a distance and disrespect your own country and its people whilst enriching yourself and blowing smoke up the arses of whining losers who aren’t prepared to make the same personal and familial sacrifices as those who come here to work for slave wages or otherwise.

          People who move to a country, any country, for the purposes of settled employment and residency, whether permanent or not are of course immigrants, as many present and all past Caymanians indeed are.
          The word ‘Expat’ means expatriot and whilst you may whine and find the term unpalatable, it merely means ‘a person who lives outside of their native country’ and is by no means a double standard. Its use isn’t offensive or disrespectful, it is entirely the correct term to use in regard to those who do not originate from the Cayman Islands.
          So before you get on your pious high horse, read more and comment less before attempting to stigmatise a community who have turned these back water Islands into a leading financial centre and 5 star tourism destination. Without those you cheaply malign to engratiate yourself, these islands would not and cannot survive.

          If you want to see young Caymanians succeed, stop patronising them, encourage education and off island career experience, return home with that experience and those qualifications, breed more and work hard. But most of all, get rid of their double-dipping, self enriching and vintage political class who use immigration and bigoted ignorance to further their own political careers, some of whom have spanned decades.
          Living on a small island with limited opportunity for quality skills training and workplace excellence is tough, but it is in many countries large and small, which is why the UK has so many immigrants in expat communities.
          But of course in your la-la world it’s okay to take the side of the Caymanian who has concerns about immigration and its effect on employment and social cohesion, but if a Brit has similar concerns about the UK he’s labelled negative or worse.

          Now that’s a double standard if ever I’ve heard one.




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          • Anonymous says:

            I love the assumed political ideology,
            also what are you railing about liberals aren’t controlling Cayman, they aren’t even any liberal parties
            Go back to the US with this shit thanks




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            • Anonymous says:

              But it was so accurate about you.




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            • Anonymous says:

              7:49 PM
              We have the supreme court in the good old U.S.A. made up of concervatives and liberals. You have the Privy Council in London that is made up of liberal socialist like yourself. Thanks to the Council taking away tools to punish crime in the empire, crime is running rampant in the colonies, Cayman is a colony in case you havent gotten that far in history yet.




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          • Anonymous says:

            Wow, all the standard right-wing cliches in one post! Go you!

            This is self-aggrandising imperialism of the highest order.

            So expats are “…a community who have turned these back water Islands into a leading financial centre and 5 star tourism destination”, and anybody with concerns over immigration and community cohesion is dismissed as “…some fragile millennial who can’t handle life in the real world”? Nice. Way to breed harmony and integration.




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            • Anonymous says:

              More driftwood




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            • Anonymous says:

              So when the City of London created off shore financial centres in the 60’s with the help of enlightened Caymanian politicians, that, and the following rise in dive resorts and service sector weren’t down to the expat community?
              Oh dear, the truth is a bitch.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Jotnar, from his description I would think the term “Migrant Worker” would be most fitting.




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    • Anonymous says:

      What ‘basic required skills’ are ‘simply not to be found here at the moment’?




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      • Anonymous says:

        all




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        • Anonymous says:

          That just isn’t true. Kids my daughter went to school with here (all Caymanian) are now accountants, nurses, doctors, pilots, lawyers, engineers, HR managers, investment analysts, computer & marketing professionals. Almost all the graduating class have degrees, some masters and a few doctorates.
          What job do you have that a Caymanian cannot do or be trained for??




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  8. Anonymous says:

    “Caymanian in every job”, which was not possible, but rather having a “job for every Caymanian”.

    Who are the people that are not working? What is their skill level? Allow the private sector to create more jobs in these areas. If it is finance, make the financial product in Cayman more attractive.




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    • Clean Out Civil Service says:

      Hey Premier,

      How about you clean your own house first? The Civil Service has soooo many expats it is not silly. I know of at least 5 expats (now status) who landed here without university degrees, low to mid level jobs, just kept quiet and never volunteered or got involved in our community at all and were all granted status by simply the course of time. Blue collar blokes who bloated up Govt jobs and it is still happening?

      Since these Govt employees do NOT require work permits, their children ARE allowed free school, they get lifetime pension, a path to citizenship and bring extended families to bloat the system, perhaps you and Franz can look at sending some foreign workers home and hiring locals?

      I know of own locals frustrated with applying to be teachers,fire/police, healthcare, trash collection, DOE, DOH, MRCU, customs, IT, NRA, registry, hazard management, HSA- and more!

      We are not training our university youth for these jobs. Instead it is the same cronyism to hire from overseas? Graduation and springtime soon come again and where are the jobs for our grads? Either on a work permit or cushy govt job to expat?

      No one will benefit from 100,000 citizens being low paid blue collar workers. Your goals are off base! Stop your merry-go-round now and evaluate your own bloat where locals returning from university can take the job?




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      • Anonymous says:

        11.25, your first part about it not being silly is the only part that makes sense.




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      • Anonymous says:

        11:25 am I know of a Caymanian, who has her masters and has supplied numerous times for jobs and has not but once been given an half interview. Those who are qualified are not given a chance to get a foot over the threshold, but the ecosystem one with little or no experience and are hired.




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      • Anonymous says:

        11:25…. Agree 100% we need to control hiring of contracted non-Caymanians and set up plans for our own




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    • Yes 9:25, “a job for every Caymanian” but allow the state to build a trade / vocational school to supply skilled Caymanian workers for the private sector.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    I hope fixing the education system is also part of the grand master plan. Otherwise it really is just a game of musical comfy bureaucratic easy chairs




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Our “leaders” need to stop reimagining themselves as smarter than everyone. They’re not.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    What more change could the business community want? Alden has given them the most liberal work permit regime whereby you really only need to pay the fee. He has given fairly short term residents PR.




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    • Anonymous says:

      What your post speaks to is the perception that the system is too liberal based on how many permits are approved, and how many declined.

      We have around 22,000 more jobs than people. To avoid harming our economy (and in turn our people) those jobs must be filled by foreign workers.

      If that number increases by 5,000 that is not a sign that immigration policy is too liberal, it’s a sign that our economy is booming. That will translate to more revenue for government (the vast majority of which is spent on Caymanians), more customers for Caymanian business owners and more job opportunities for Caymanians in the businesses that serve those extra people.

      If 99% of permits are approved is immigration too liberal? No, because employers don’t apply for a permit if they think for a moment it will be declined.

      Declining a permit benefits no one unless there is a Caymanian able and willing to take the job. For most permit refusals there is not. Hence the employer will simply make another permit application.

      This is exactly why the government should focus on finding “a job for every Caymanian, not a Caymanian for every job”. Finding a Caymanian for every job is a fool’s errand. 20,000 Caymanian workers doesn’t go into 42,000 jobs any way you try it.

      The reason most Caymanians think the system is too liberal is simply that they, for the most part, never have to apply for work permits.




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      • Anonymous says:

        No one is saying that foreign workers aren’t wanted or needed however suitable Caymanian applicants need to be given first opportunity. However Alden’s policy has been liberal managerial level permits and a focus on “low level” job creation for Caymanians. Companies realize this and have returned to obvious and slimy machinations such as requiring irrelevant past experience or easily learned skills. Granted Caymanian owners, managers, and HR “professionals” are some of the worse abusers but that doesn’t make it any easier for qualified Caymanians looking for suitable employment or advancement.




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        • Anonymous says:

          I have heard of several cases recently where WP have been refused because Immigration deems that there is an acceptable local candidate. I also heard that those companies understand which candidates they are referring to, and on checking local references would rather not employ or shift that work overseas than take the “proposed” candidate.




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          • Anonymous says:

            So the employer ignored the candidate and effectively the rules of Cayman, tried to get a permit first and then once refused checked into the “references”. Yep really good corporate citizens there.




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          • Anonymous says:

            I think I know one of those companies..the name has changed over the years but the ethically absent corporate culture has endured and clearly permeated throughout the organization. If I’m not mistaken it has been involved in numerous frauds and really would have been shut down by the regulator years ago had there not been a rather conflicted situation. You know I think the more of that business we lose overseas the better and if the morally challenged employees followed Cayman would be truly blessed.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Do you have any evidence of this “policy” whatsoever?




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          • Anonymous says:

            “In many cases the grant of a work permit for a managerial or professional position means a business is growing and actually creates additional jobs for administrative, secretarial or support staff.”




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      • Anonymous says:

        Back in the UK this attitude that immigrants and foreign workers are to blame for every unemployed or disenfranchised person’s problems is endemic, promoted by populists and fearmongers. It has destroyed a once welcoming and vibrant society, leaving a nasty, divided nation that has no idea of it’s own identity.

        I hope this can be avoided here, and sensible policy making right now is the way to manage it.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Make the right to Status only after 25 years.




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          • Anonymous says:

            I think it would be far more productive to focus on providing easier access to good quality training and education for all Caymanians, enabling greater competition with foreign workers.
            Cayman needs foreign workers, but ensuring a good spread of skills for Caymanian students to compete in the job market will help provide natural balance.

            Maybe increased incentives for companies to employ and train Caymanians ahead of bringing in experienced foreign workers might help?




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  12. Anonymous says:

    This is nothing more than an attempt by Alden the Destroyer to give the impression that he cares about Caymanians. This will likely be as useless as the NWDA and Alden will continue to give away jobs and PR’s for the two years it will take to create. There will truly be nothing left.




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  13. Anonymous says:

    Alden does not appear to have the slightest clue what he is talking about. He is fiddling while Rome burns.




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  14. Anonymous says:

    Encourage educated individuals to come to Cayman. We have enough impoverished, uneducated here now. A first glass country requires first class citizens.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Like people from Norway ?




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    • West bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 10:32 pm , are you implying that Cayman Islands should have first Citizens only Is first class mean highly educated Lawyers , Bank Managers etc . Then what would we do about the need for second class Citizens with good ethics and morals ? Do you see how corrupted and crime ridden that Cayman has become now that everyone has become so highly educated . Cayman was not like that before .
      What I say that the Cayman Islands need is to have everyone that is a plying for a work Permit to live and work here to be thoroughly VETTED highly educated included too from head to toe ..

      But I find you comment offensive , because this WORLD IS NOT MADE OF ONLY FIRST CLASS EDUCATED CITIZENS and why should C.I be different .




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      • Anonymous says:

        What is even more offensive, is your grammar and slaughter of the English language 11:55am!

        Given your comments, the safe assumption can be made that you hold nothing more than a qualification in basic education.




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