Immigration officials see tourism front-line

| 21/03/2018 | 21 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Tourism Association organised a tour of Grand Cayman’s larger hotels for immigration officials, as part of ongoing efforts to share with government the challenges that the industry claims it is facing in recruiting staff. Officials said that CITA’s Human Resources Advisory Committee, which has been in talks with government about immigration issues, said this tour exposed administrative personnel to the tourism front-line in four resorts on Seven Mile Beach.

CITA’s Board of Director said in a release that they hope the site tours will lead to a better understanding of the multifaceted human resources required by large hotels and some of the auxiliary services, such as guest relations, watersports, restaurants and transport.

Cayman Islands Tourism Association, Cayman News Service

Marc Langevin, GM of The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, addresses immigration staff during a tour of the hotel organised by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association

Although CITA did not specify members’ concerns, the implication is that, ahead of government’s planned changes to the immigration process, the tourism sector wants to ensure a smooth passage for future work permits so the industry has access to the manpower it needs.

The release said that industry representatives from the hotel, condo, villa, watersports and restaurant sectors engaged with a large group from the Department of Immigration during the tour of the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa and the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.

CITA said that Janette Goodman, the HR director at the Ritz and a longstanding member of the committee, had wanted the tour following meetings with government last year where she “first realised that more open communication was needed to ensure the best position for the industry”.

Majestic Tours donated a bus and driver for the site visits, where each hotel provided the immigration staff with the opportunity to speak directly with employees and a glimpse into the daily operations.

Acting Director of Boards and Work Permits, Beth McField, said the tour was beneficial. “This was a very intuitive, brave and historic initiative, especially during high season. We were glad to be a part of it. The main takeaway was that this is a partnership. While ensuring that Caymanians are provided with equal opportunities, the staff now realise that organisational fit and a natural propensity towards hospitality is equally important.”

Cayman Islands Tourism Association President Theresa Leacock-Broderick described the visit as a “monumental step forward in our industry’s relationship-building, training and collaboration with government”. She said it was also a step towards Caymanians gaining a better understanding of the hospitality industry’s human resource criteria.

“We hope that new-found perspectives will also be shared with siblings, children and extended family and friends,” Leacock-Broderick said. “Ultimately, every positive influence leads to more young Caymanians considering jobs in tourism. CITA will continue to do its part to this end and we look forward to creating more collaborative opportunities amongst our members and government and the community at large.”

Over the years the tourism sector has often cited recruitment issues as a main barrier to its further success, but it also has a reputation for not employing locals, largely because of the low wages for many hospitality jobs.

At a recent meeting in West Bay as part of the tourism ministry’s public consultation on the next five-year plan, the lack of locals on the front line of the tourism business was seen as undermining the sector and the issue that most people wanted government to address.

See CITA’s job search page

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh look! Another industry trying to explain why they need slave labor because they don’t want to pay locals a decent wage.

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  2. Chet Oswald Ebanks. says:

    Oh my I have to say my two cents on this one. Out of all the hotels toured only the Kimpton is they only one I haven’t applied to for a job. To name just another hotel an condo Comfort Suites, Lacovia. All of them I have applied to for jobs. Only to get no reply, either an interview or no response from submitting my CV and cover letter. I keep getting told I don’t have the job experience. Well hire me and darn train me then. But no its a quick fix to LABEL ALL CAYMANIANS AS BEING LAZY OR ENTITLED. I go to The Cayman Times newspaper of a few weeks ago. Where the Westin, Sunshine Suites, Marriott all had job adverts. BUT THEY ALL STATED, YOU HAVE TO HAVE EITHER 1OR 3 YEARS JOB EXPERIENCE.

    SO HOW ARE WE AS CAYMANIANS LIKE MYSELF WHO ARE WILLING, ABLE TO BE TRAINED AND HIRED FOR THESE JOBS. GUESS THAT IS TOO EASY A SOLUTION.

    A UNEMPLOYED WILLING, FIT, ABLE BODIED CAYMANIAN MAN.

    SIGNED,

    Chet Oswald Ebanks.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Could it be social media research prevented you from getting hired? Just a thought.

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    • John Lin says:

      Chet.
      As an expat from the UK who has lived here almost 40 years I have often commented on the LACK of Caymanians in our tourism industry.

      In France there are French waiters and cooks. Same in Italy and even the USA.
      But a tourist could visit Grand Cayman and apart from the immigration officer never meet a Caymanian.

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    • Anonymous says:

      @2:44 pm
      Do you remember french movie The untouchable? An employer refusing to hire a job seeker is supposed to sign a paper stating that the holder of the paper had applied for a job, wasn’t hired and probably a reason. The latter collects unemployment benefits if he is not hired.
      May be worth exploring how they do it in France?

      And what about cayman hospitality school? I thought they train people and CIG pays a stipend to trainee. Cayman needs more Vocational and Technical schools.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ask them “I had hoped I’d be considered for the [Senior Basketweaver] opening. Is there a specific reason I was passed over for the job?”

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  3. Anonymous says:

    A tour, a conference, a meeting, a wine and dine occasion are all good. However, the information imparted is just for ‘show’ and record purpose only if nothing is truly not done about this particular situation. Here are my two cents on this matter:
    1. Hotels and other tourism establishments must try harder to hire and retain their Caymanian staff than what they are doing at present;
    2. The image that ALL Caymanians are lazy, incompetent, and not worthy of hiring MUST change within the HR Departments of tourism establishments throughout the Cayman Islands;
    3. The CIG especially the Immigration Department MUST see to it that the tourism establishments are following the laws, that are in place, before issuing these massive amounts of work permits;
    4. Expatriate staff should see it as an advantage when they are working with Caymanians as who knows the country best than a ‘country man’?
    5. Hotels and other tourism establishments MUST have succession plans in place to ensure that qualified, suitable Caymanians are hired to replace expatriate workers after a particular number of working permits for these workers are granted. (This too will cut down on the numbers of persons who could/can/qualify for Permanent Residency);
    6. Expatriate staff need to be reminded that working in the Cayman Islands is NOT a right but a privilege and thus should NOT feel in anyway when their job is taking from them by a suitable, qualified Caymanian;
    7. The amount of back stabbing and double standards that exist in these tourism establishments between expatriates and Caymanians need to STOP like NOW!!! especially within the supervisory and management positions. and
    8. In order for Cayman’s Tourism Product to truly continue to flourish and survive, Caymanians MUST be given first preference of jobs in the tourism industry like NOW!!!!!! and every effort should be carried out to do so. STOP the lip service CITA, Chamber of Commerce, CIG and all other establishments within the tourism industry. ACTIONS speak LOUDER than WORDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • Anonymous says:

      All fine and good, but there are not enough Caymanians. And that’s before considering whether or not the 1200 unemployed are actually employable.

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      • No kidding Sherlock ! says:

        Then Stop building !

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        • Anonymous says:

          So in your book Cayman should stop visitors coming and paying taxes on hotel rooms because there aren’t enough Caymanians to work in such places? Is your middle name Einstein by any chance?

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    • West bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 12:50 pm , I agree with your comment on the issue . I would like to add my two cents to the solution.
      1. Immigration must put into Law that all businesses must hire a certain percentage of their staff be Caymanians if possible .
      2 . Before a work permit is issued , employer must give Immigration names of applicants that were interviewed and tried for the position , telephone number and address along with other efforts that were taken to employ a Caymanian .
      3 . An on the job training program that will help with the hiring process, and that all efforts were made to meet the criteria .
      4 . Employer must give Immigration reasons why this person wasn’t suitable for job .

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      • Anonymous says:

        This is required by law and many permits are denied in this process. I know first hand that everything you’ve mentioned is done to the fullest extent. Businesses want to save money and paying work permit fees is not their first choice. Immigration will not approve a permit without everything you’ve mentioned above.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully the learning experience from this will help CITA also realise the need for understanding there’s an urgent need for further collaboration. Specifically the strategic planning for upgrade of our infrastructure with increased tourism. More specifically, connectivity between our islands and on each island. Case in point if the GT Cruise Port goes ahead, which it probably will, decentralisation of shipping and pedestrianisation of GT needs to start happening now. This a balance we need to get right or it’s just another cart before the horse exercise.

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  5. Cor Blimey! says:

    They should have been taken to the airport on a Saturday lunchtime to view the lines of arriving passengers at immigration.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Might move aster if there was enough light at the Immigration & Customs desks for them to see what they’re doing. – Poor design CIAA, very poor design.

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    • John Lin says:

      The big crunch incoming is Saturday afternoon for about 4 hours with many flights arriving together.
      Why not offer PART TIME JOBS for those few hours to help cope with the rush. Just handling vacationing USA families would take the weight of the other officers.

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      • Anonymous says:

        There are only 12 booths at Immigration where, pray tell, would you put all the extra help on a Saturday? Just handle vacationing US families??? That’s all that comes in on a Saturday!!

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        • Cor Blimey! says:

          It’s not the number of booths, it’s the number of immigration officials that bother to turn up to man them.

          • Anonymous says:

            stop signing that tune as they have bee staffed up fully since the beginning of the year….try another. They just cant handle the amount of flights arriving 3 mins apart which I might add was never agreed or organized by Customs or Immigration who have no say in these flight arrivals knowing fare well that the chaos they cause.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh the ignorance. You must be in perpetual bliss.

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