MLA exposes abuse of 25-year PR certificate

| 02/07/2018 | 73 Comments
corruption, Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Department of Immigration

(CNS): Government has agreed to review a provision in the immigration legislation that allows wealthy people, substantial business investors or certain skilled employees to acquire 25-year residency certificates, after the member for East End exposed potential but very serious abuse of the system. As he presented a private member’s motion on the issue in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, Arden McLean said an FOI request he had made showed several of the more than two dozen certificates that have been awarded since the special certificate was introduced in 2012 were outside the original intention of the law.

McLean raised concerns that certain people had acquired the certificates through manipulation, and although some of those who had achieved a certificate for 25 years met the intention of attracting new investment, several fell far short and only two of them had actually invested money, which was the main intention of the certificate.

“It shows there is a problem,” McLean said, as he revealed the documents to the parliament. “When we look at some of these, we can see they are not meeting the original category intentions.”

He pointed to certificates given to work permit holders from the management teams at Sol, one of the bulk fuel suppliers, and the Cayman branch of CIBC, which raised questions. In both cases, the jobs held by the permit holders given the certificates were not particularly specialist and no direct investment had been made by the individuals.

During the debate on the motion asking government to re-examine this certificate, McLean and Chris Saunders, the opposition member for Bodden Town West, said that the issue came to light when a qualified and experienced Caymanian finance executive had applied for one of the senior positions at CIBC. Having been turned down, he followed up on the reasons why and learned that someone else at the bank who had been there just a short time had been given the post in order to get the certificate.

McLean said not only had a local lost out on a job, the permit holder had also secured a 25-year residency certificate, undermining the entire process. He suggested that all this would have gone unnoticed if the person who had been turned down for the job had not followed up to find out why.

The East End member also pointed to law firm HSM Chambers as the architects of the applications that he alleged had been manipulated. He handed out some harsh criticism to the firm and called out the partners, as he queried why government kept giving this particular group of lawyers work when they were constantly finding ways of abusing the work permit process and exploiting the legislation and making questionable claims.

In response on behalf of the government, the premier said that the law would be reviewed, and he accepted that they had to find a way to make certain that the people who are given the right to reside in Cayman for 25 years are bringing truly specialist skills or investing a lot of money.

“We need to look again to see if this legislation is serving us as it should,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said.

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Category: Local News, Politics

Comments (73)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Are they all helicopter pilots or something?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Should we be discussing the immigration workers who consult on PR applications on the side, then make the decisions, should we discuss the Caymanians who are taking funding for youth for personal benefit, should we discuss the Caymanians who employ expats for below minimum wage and threaten to deport them if they complain, or should we just blame the expats for taking our jobs? I want my politicians to be accountable before they try to kick out the expats. Let’s deal with our own disgusting issues first.u Once everything is on the up and up, let’s move to expats. I have lived here for 50 years, does that make me an expat or can I be considered Caymanian?

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    • RICK says:

      In the end Caymanians make the most money out from expats. It is the Caymanians that abuse the system for their own greed. Don’t blame the expats they are only following the law and the caymsn way of doing things .

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      • Anonymous says:

        And also dont blame the law firm that obeys the law in representing their clients needs. If you dont like the law, then i agree with Alden, change it, but dont damn those who follow it.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I think the point of the private member’s motion is that the intent of the Law was being evaded. They didn’t follow it; they abused it.

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      • Please ignore RICK's comments says:

        Please ignore comments from RICK. Rick is a troll and doesn’t even live in Cayman.

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        • Anonymous says:

          LOL How on earth do you know this?
          And what makes him a troll?

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          • Please ignore RICK's comments says:

            RICK disclosed in a previous post that he does not live in Cayman. The fact that he doesn’t live in Cayman and hence has no vested interest here, coupled with his endless string of negative posts, clearly screams that he is just a troll trying to stir things up. Try to keep up mate.

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        • Local says:

          RICK is a prick who is a bigot that hates Caymanians!

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          • RICK says:

            I love Caymanians but only the women.

            But on a serious note if you read the comments on this website as an outsider you will clearly see who hates who in Cayman.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This and many other matters that take the prosperity out of Caymanian hands are being done with no repercussions or entity protecting Caymanians. Employment, beach access, Planning regulations, construction industry, the real estate fraternity just to name a few that are particularly structured by the powers to be that have now placed glass ceilings in our society. Remember 1 PR could equal 4 dependents similar to 3,000 status grants that actually were 6,000 when considering dependents. Imagine that 1 Caymanian that was unsuccessful now becoming 2 and so on. I dare ask the question, what happens when Caymanians are unable to work.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    24 certificates issued in total… whilst any misuse certainly needs investigating let’s keep it in perspective… 24 some of which presumably are legit.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s permanent as long as you pay up. That is the law. Take it or leave it.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    If they haven’t invested in a Cayman business personally, withdraw the damn permits and get rid of them!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Except the law does not require any investment. If anyone has to be got rid of it is the politicians who created this mess and then refuse any responsibility for it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        We cannot put all the blame on Government. Most of the Caymanians don’t make it their business to inquire what motions are being passed in the LA. Yet when they realize it will directly impact them, then that want to raise all hell. These are our islands that the politicians are just a formal mouth piece. We must take accountability for what changes that we allowed to happen or ignored to stop.

  7. anonymous says:

    Really unconscionable. This does not even exist in places like BVI where no matter who you are, as a foreigner you need that work permit renewed every single year for at least 20 years! No law firm would have been allowed to get around this, ha, what a laugh!

    It really makes you wonder WHAT is going on in Cayman! I think everyone involved should be sacked and criminally charged. This is one of the worst stories to come out of Cayman in ages, people who are from there, I hope you realize the weight of what this means!

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  8. Anonymous says:

    When one of your main financial pillar is work permit fees, your own people will always be put at some sort of disadvantage. You can’t have it both ways.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    It seems the 25 year certificate was used. There is no indication of it being abused.

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    • Jotnar says:

      The 28 thumbs down on this comment might want to look at the conditions for the certificate being issued before criticising the poster. All you need is 10% of a business with an office and 4 employees, or be a work permit holder in financial services paying a WP of more than $21K a year. Surprised there have only been 24 – large numbers of senior execs in financial services probably meet the latter criteria – way cheaper than applying for PR the usual way (and you t have to wait 8 years).

      Shoot the MLAs that passed the laws / Immigration for issuing the regulation if you dont like the outcome, not the OP. Oh, and BTW someone needs to explain to Arden the difference between a law that he and other MLAs passed, and what he might have thought that law meant as opposed to what it says in black and white.

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  10. Claudetta Ebanks says:

    Shame, shame on government for not having better controls in place to detect this sort of injustice. Now that this has been brought to light – what drastic measures will be done to the entities involved so that this sort of behavior will cease immediately! You have laws and policies in place – use them and stop being cowards!!

    Anonymous

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    • Anonymous says:

      Should you not be asking what measures will be taken against those who put these laws in place? Your remedy is mostly at the polling stations.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What about the injustice of people that don’t drink liquor and don’t smoke, for people that don’t drink or smoke can only bring back home $350 duty free personnel items, but people that drink and smoke can bring back so much liquor and tobacco
      products, maybe another $500 dollars or more on top of the $350, for its the liters and not the value of the liquors and some of them are costly.

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      • Jotnar says:

        $500! What on earth do you drink – the cigarettes wont be more than $50, so $450 for a bottle of booze? Not impossible but suspect not many people paying over US$550 for a bottle of spirits or 4 bottles of wine.

        • Anonymous says:

          What ever the cost of booze and cigarettes that should be in the $350 duty free allowed and not extra on top of the $350. I hope some one sues the Government for for its not a fair playing field. The duty free allowed should be raised to $ 700.00 and the booze and tobacco products should come out of the $700.00. The $350 was in place for the last 30 years and cost of living went up many,many, many times sence then.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The promises of a politician. They will always leave you disappointed.

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  12. Sol Asylum says:

    No Money No certificate how hard can that be???only one complicating this situation is the Govt it can revoke everything else for local people and the governor? What is the problem with Sol and CIBC no Caymanians No work permits or certificates ???

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  13. Anonymous says:

    No confidence, it will be swept under the rug!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Why is this news worthy….for the last 6 years Aldart’s been allowing employers to obtain permits without limit only really requiring payment of fees. Many of those people now have PR and those jobs are gone for Caymanians. Well done Aldart the Destroyer.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Well said. Every week Caymanians are being deprived of opportunity and nothing is said or done. Caymanians are not allowed to appeal against the grant of a work permit where they have applied even though the law says they can. No Caymanian can do anything if an employer gives a job to a PR holder, spouse of a Caymanian, or Ghost Caymanian (illegal overstayer) in preference to them, even though the law implies preference for Caymanians over all others. These are longstanding issues that the politicians have failed or refused to do anything about. All of this rests in Aldart’s lap.

      No politician should blame businesses for their own failings. They continue to freely hand out status and PR to so many and then complain about the consequences of their own action or inaction. Madness.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Why do so many Caymanian employers chose to waste so much time and legal fees jumping through immigration hoops and pay extortionate work permit fees to employ unknown foreigners rather than simply employ their fellow Caymanians? If you can’t honestly identify the cause of a problem you’ll never fix it.

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        • Anonymous says:

          It’s long been known that many Caymanian and foreign employers love the indentured nature of the work permit…a lot less chance of them quitting if you work them hard or generally treat them poorly.

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          • Anonymous says:

            They recoup those fees by paying that worker way below what the average caymanian would accept.

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      • Anonymous says:

        They’re looking after themselves…grabbing the last bit as it collapses around them.

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    • Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

      Just Another Day in Absurdistan

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  15. Anonymous says:

    A champion of the mediocre spews more caveman economics.

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    • A. Caymanian says:

      Breaking laws, regulations and government policies are also issues that are dealt with in other countries. Protecting the interests of Caymanians in the Cayman Islands is what is expected and should be encouraged at all levels in every situation. Unless you are not in favor of the rule of law. Or maybe you are just a bigot?

      Canadians, Brits, Americans, and all other nationalities expect the laws to be enforced in their countries. Therefore why is it a problem or considered “caveman economics” when the abuse of laws is exposed and enforcement of laws is done in favor of Caymanians in the Cayman Islands?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Oh wow! Put in place?

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      • Anonymous says:

        You seem to have completely missed the point of the post in deciding to spew out your clichéd cut and paste rant.

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      • Jotnar says:

        Perhaps you can explain what laws and regulations have been breached? Looking at immigration s own website it looks like this is Arden complaining about what he thinks the regulation and policy should be rather than what is so, and the lawyers for actually advising their clients accordingly. Or perhaps it’s you that is not favour of the rule of law?

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      • Anonymous says:

        @A. Caymanian – Many of those nationalities consider it “caveman economics” because when they move abroad, it is the first time that they experience a system that is not in their favor. Where they come from, they are the privileged class and “immigration laws” and “work permits” are terms that they hear about on the news and pay little attention to, because those things didn’t effect them. When they move abroad they expect that privilege to be afford to them abroad as well. The criticism stems from the fact that they are not given the first crack at everything like they are back home.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear Arden. I am pretty sure the fuel supplier, the bank, their lawyers, and the immigration department were just following the law. A law that you, and your colleagues, together with members of the civil service, conceived, drafted, debated and passed.

    If you or other politicians did not understand what you were doing, then so be it, but you are casting blame, if any is to be assigned, in the wrong direction. At least the premier has the maturity to acknowledge that the law needs to be looked at.

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    • Anonymous says:

      clearly you understand that the majority that rule will pass the laws? as obnoxious as arden can be if emotion is taken out of it for the last 8 years he has been raising excellent points and doing his job as an mla – advocating for the people.

      if only his delivery and personality were not so overbearing he may have accomplished a lot more based on merit.

      keep working arden

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Arden! Keep the pressure on!

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Come on now gents, you know nothing will come out of this. Lawyers always protect lawyers plus these are mostly British whom we need here to help us. Seems like just some showboating for the public anyway.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Not only the banks even in places as common as burger king.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Lawyers only work within the law. If politicians are not happy with a particular law then they are free to change it rather than blame lawyers in the LA for operating within the law. Why does the Law Society and the Caymanian Bar Assiciation not speak about the assault on lawyers?

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    • Anonymous says:

      As a lawyer, I can tell you that this is not the spirit in which this law was drafted. I can also tell you that drafting legislation is a very difficult task and there are often loopholes which need to be corrected. The fact a lawyer would exploit what he knew was not what the law intended is disgusting.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Nonsense. A lawyer not doing what the law permits for a client is what would be disgusting. By all means close the loophole, but if one exists any lawyer would be duty bound to use it. I sincerely hope I never require your services.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Lawyers follow the law. This is not exploitation.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The CBA no longer exists. It was consumed by the Law Society. The Law Society has never taken a public stance on anything adverse to politicians. The Attorney General and Chief Justice are probably the ones who ought to be expressing displeasure and act on it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Can you locate those two entities? The Law Society and The Cayman Bar Association is only named thrown around. They have no office, no email, nothing especially if you wanted to complain about the lawyers and firms here. There is nowhere to turn. Right now I have a letter threatening me from XXXX and full of lies than can be refuted. Who do you complain about them to? Nobody.

      Arden can you get us an agency or commission we can complain about these firms when they come after you with lies, you can prove and have proof.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The Chief Justice is responsible for the regulation of the legal profession. Take it up with him.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Not just an assault on lawyers. An assault on the rule of law.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Arden, try an FOI application for all Civil Servants who hold a head of department letter authorising them to maintain a personal business alongside public duties.
    Oh, that’s right, you won’t do that because that will stop the Caymanian gravy train that allows people to take public funds whilst using govt vehicles, time and facilities to earn personal income.
    This is probably the biggest employment fraud on these islands, but yet nothing is done.
    I wonder why?
    Could it be that Arden and his fellow double dippers have business interests outside his MLA duties, surely not.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wth does an MLA having a business have to do with anything ? Seriously ? He wouldn’t need permission anyway

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  22. Anonymous says:

    All 25 year permits that have been issued and those found to have manipulated the system and did not bring specialist skills or invested a lot of money should be revoked.

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    • Anonymous says:

      11:30 pm, every 25 year permit that was issued and did nit confirm to the stipulations of the law, should be cancelled. What will the lopsided government do about them. Real manipulators, and we wonder what’s happening in the Cayman Islands? We need to stop importing scammers.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed. Should be the same for every work permit grant, every PR grant, every RERC grant, and every status grant that was not granted in full accordance with the law.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That would require thousands of revocations. The Lawless Camanas have never been good at doing anything legally, and the last several years have been particularly bad.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I work at XXXX and know for sure that they bring down unqualified senior personnel mostly from Canada and Bermuda, the bank give them housing allowance and within a year they submit for their 25 year PR certificate depriving talented young Caymanians from moving up the ladder. I hope Saunders and McLean actually do something about this injustice. HR is always complaining but they just trying hold on to their jobs and never speak up on the injustice but complain all around the office. Smh

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  23. West Bay Premier says:

    I think it is very funny that these Lawmakers can learn of these things happen after the Law was passed , but couldn’t think that they could happen while the Law was being debated .. Very smart Politicians /Lawmakers.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Unintended consequences they are legislators not psychics. Could you have anticipated it

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      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, I did, and tried for many months to warn them.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Yup – pretty obvious stuff. None are so blind as those who will not see – and the bleating sheep that blindly follow them even when it becomes obvious they have been misled into a pack of wolves.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Start with Permanent Residency, and call it what it is “Temporary Residency”. Who ever heard of having to renew something that is “Permanent”?

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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      You do understand that you don’t have to renew Permanent residency, right? There may be a 25 year limit on these special ones, but the rest are – well permanent. Unless it gets revoked for cause, or the holder decides to become Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      I dare you to turn it in!!

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