Immigration bill focused on local rights

| 28/06/2018 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service

Alden McLaughlin in the LA, June 2018

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin said the latest amendment to the ever-changing immigration law reflected the government’s commitment to enhance and “streamline the immigration processes directly related to Caymanians and their dependents”, when he presented the bill. He said some of the changes addressed anomalies in the law that had been “of grave concern” for some time relating to what are commonly known as ghost Caymanians and procedures for the spouses of Caymanians to achieve status. Alongside other changes, the amendment bill paves the way for the forthcoming transition of immigration into the new department of Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) and the border control agency.

McLaughlin told the parliament that the legislation would support the right to family life and help in the creation of a fair work permit and permanent residency regime that does not disenfranchise Caymanians in the pursuit of employment or limit their career advancement. He said this bill was not the end of the planned changes for the law as government strove towards the vision of full employment among locals.

Although government didn’t escape criticism from the opposition benches about their failure to address the ongoing challenges local people face in the workplace, the bill was largely supported by all the members of the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday evening, as it passed through a second reading.

As well as lifting sunset clauses on Caymanians who have fallen through the legal loopholes, largely down to the fact that being born in Cayman does not automatically convey status and other issues over who actually is a Caymanians by right of descent, it paves the way for spouses of Caymanians to be treated equitably, as spouses of permanent residents who, because of these legal anomalies, were able to achieve status before the husbands and wives of local people.

The law also gives the same power over work and residency related immigration decisions to the director of WORC, the new employment unit, as those of the chief immigration officer. The new law also creates a separate asylum appeals tribunal and changes the conditions for specialist caregiver permits. 

McLaughlin said the bill would enable government to enhance the processes surrounding immigration that directly related to Caymanians.

Winding up after the debate, he criticised Kenneth Bryan in particular for what he said was a rant after the youngest member had questioned what was actually being done to improve the lot of the locals who are struggling to get by and dismissed the creation of  WORC as just another name change without any meaningful improvements. He also criticised the local media for some comments made in print editorials that government had no business in recruitment.

McLaughlin warned that if this government didn’t get the balance right with the creation of the new WORC unit and enable Caymanians to participate in the successful economy, the resentments that are already clear to anyone paying attention would grow. He said if the opposition took charge, those in the business community criticising the current government efforts to include locals would soon realise why they should have been behind this government’s drive for change. 

The premier said the aim was to meet the ever-changing needs in the community and address the obvious deficiencies in current legislation. “The goal has always been to protect Caymanian workers and ensure they got opportunities,” he said, adding that despite some problems the system has worked and at present some 95% of Caymanians in the workforce have a job.

See the draft legislation in the CNS Library

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Pathetic populist pandering to the self-pitying mediocre demographic.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr Premier and the great Unity team government. Keep up the good work!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Lots of jobs the foreign worker won’t do either, take a look at the immigration demographics in their countries of origin, hence why they relocate to the Cayman Islands and other places to begin with. They also use whatever means necessary to gain the competitive edge against the “ local” to ensure they don’t end up employed in a job they don’t want.
    (local meaning an fellow expat who arrived prior to them or a native of the host country)

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  4. Anonymous says:

    as an expat paper caymanian…..i will always work for the betterment of all people…no matter what nationality.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Getting a bill passed and making it into law have very different timelines. Might happen in another 20 years or so?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone noticed that for the vast majority of the opposition blowhards, being Caymanian just aint good enough for them for nuptial purposes?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I am so sick and tired of hearing about the “ffff poor unemployed Caymanians”. If they wanted to work there are jobs, but that is the problem. Alot of them don’t….come to interviews late, were fired from their other job, dictating to you what their job will be, they have no skill yet will demand the salary of an experience worker. How come government hires foreigners to fill jobs???? Alden get your head out of the sand!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Most Caymanians have jobs and are damn good at them. There are problem people that are common in every society. I agree, the ones who don’t work won’t because government looks after them. The unemployed Caymanian theory is not really an issue. All my Caymanian friends employed and make good money. No excuses.

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        • Anonymous says:

          To 7:26pm, so if most Caymanians have jobs why is Alden complaining about all the unemployed Caymanians and forcing them down employers throats

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      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry I have to disagree with you the issue at hand is the expat comes and decides he/she is entitled to stay and that no one can do their job. So when the permit is renewed the companies play games with where they advertise so as to get less exposure and if a qualified Cayman happens to apply then they are met with resistance and in some cases are even interviewed by the expat permit holder. So yes there is a problem I know there is a certain percentage of people here that cannot work or don’t want to this is the same in many other countries, The difference is the favoritism and push to hire more people from the expats home countries this may be just my perception however, many other people I meet, have experienced with the same resistance from expats who feel that since they came here they are entitled to stay and that they are better than the locals.

        So keep it up Alden.

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        • Say it like it is says:

          1.41pm There is some isolated favouritism, but it has to be pronounced to overcome the additional travel expenses and work permit costs for bringing in another expatriate. If you want to know why this occurs look at the poor performance of many civil servants employed because they are Caymanian.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Definitely what I’ve experienced along with some Uncle Tom eight week certified HR specialist. I can’t imagine how discouraged young Caymanians applying for jobs or promotions must feel. So now you can reply to the usual self serving and unsupported expat comments about 1) how there is no unemployment 2) government should not be involved in hiring [which is effectively immigration] 3) and of course the inflated self importance rant about how businesses that have been here for years complying with stricter immigration laws will now move if they lose a rather new employee.

  7. Anonymous says:

    A promise from a politician is of comfort to a fool. We have been down this road before.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 9:34
    Well said. Governments are nothing more than vehicles of intimidation.
    I have nothing good to say about our government and despise the fact that I have to get out of bed to keep them in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s way past time for Government to be focusing on how to improve the lot of all Caymanians. Don’t let this be the end of it Premier, more needs to be done to even out the playing field.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How much more of an advantage do you need before you think the playing field is level?

      • Anonymous says:

        Depends on the mediocrity and sense of entitlement of the moaner in question. If they think the playing field is not massively tilted in their favour already then that says a lot about how deluded they are.

  10. Anonymous says:

    After 20 years as a MLA who has helped entrench Caymanians in becoming second and third class citizens in their own country by making immigration laws easier for everyone else; Alden seems to be growing a conscience or is it just his usual playing to the gallery pretending to understand the plight of Caymanians?

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  11. "Anonymousir" says:

    lets just all say goodbye!

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    • History teacher says:

      Alden, McKeeva, Kurt and their legions of blind followers sold out Caymanians a long time ago and helped to create this mess.

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      • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

        What mess? You mean the one where every single work permit holder is requested by a Caymanian? That mess? We have ourselves to blame for not going the extra mile to hire Caymanians. Yes, there are some jobs that SOME Caymanians won’t do.

        The minimum wage is a joke. It sure as hell isn’t a living wage. Hike that up and give incentives toward hiring locals and make work permit fees higher. We must solve this ourselves, from within.

        That said, expats are necessary to our economy. I sincerely believe we cannot do it all ourselves. They are not the enemy and shouldn’t be treated as such. We need them more than they need us.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The only time expats are our enemy is when they circumvent the immigration regulations to hire their friends or countrymen. Paper Caymanians are often no better and although honored with citizenship by the people of the country, they give thanks by avoiding hiring them at all costs.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Well said Kenneth….all governments in the world control immigration and such policies should have their citizens as the first priority. Anyone saying otherwise is deluded or more likely believe Caymanians are stupid and will believe any silly thing they are told. I’m afraid Aldart, previously with the help of Minim Marco, created the current environment where our welcome visitors and guests are becoming the entitled in Cayman.

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