WORC stops doing its own English tests

| 03/10/2019 | 41 Comments
Cayman News Service

(CNS): The new agency that will be dealing with employment and work permits, Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman, will no longer be conducting its own English Language Tests (ELTs), from 14 October, for work permit applicants who are not native English speakers. As a corruption case involving around a dozen defendants relating to these tests continues to drag through the courts, with some immigration officials already convicted, the agency said applicants must now take the test at official centres.

Passing the test remains a requirement for work permit applications for potential employees whose first language is not English, and all workers here must have a basic understanding of the English language. But WORC will no longer carry out the tests itself. Officials said they will instead accept test results from two global providers: International English Language Test Systems (IELTS) and Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC).

Testing centres for both providers can be found globally, and there is also a TOEIC testing centre in Cayman. WORC said its passing grade is at band A2. This grading is reflective of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which identifies this grade as a basic user of English, the officials stated in a release.

Government had attempted to direct applicants to test centres some five years ago but efforts to make it mandatory were abandoned.

Meanwhile, the corruption case in which immigration officers are accused of taking an illegal payment of $600 from applicants to pass the test, regardless of their language skills, is not yet completed. While one trial ended in a mixed result, with some officers (who cannot be named as a result of a court gag order) found guilty, another prosecution was thrown out and the defendants in that case have since sought costs from the crown.

A third trial is scheduled to take place later this month.

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Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    if you passed the english test in the island and prospecting to change there employer are they going to take again the english test

  2. Bishal Singh says:

    Now what to do with those people who don’t know English but still working in cayman.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WORCs current English test is really foolishness. I support them outsourcing this. My only question is: is it true that you can email WORC and get an English test exemption?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Half the people on this island cannot speak English. Axe them? We have to communicate with the world. Not JA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not Honduras, not Philipinesv not India, France and many other non english speaking nationalities.

  5. anon says:

    I wonder if the owner of the local TOEIC centre is a Civil Servant, surely not!!.

    • Anonymous says:

      Once you introduce the private sector Corruption will rule supreme!

      Just like the private garage vehicle inspection – pay 100$ and you get anything you need to get your vehicle licensed at Licensing Department!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Stupid do you even know what happened or are you taken this report as BIBLE. Do you know what the requirements were and what is satisfactory to be considered to sufficiently pass the English Test. The standard was/is very low because the labor/work permit engine is in full effect. The Government makes too much money to change it because it’s beneficial to them and their business associates interest. You wanna talk about corruption start from the top. There many ppl that are still there that should be gone. There has been a lot of information that has not been reported on, when it came to the trial with the officers. They are made the escape goats for a system that was much bigger than them. I know some of them personally and was present for majority of the trial. They reported things and issues that were never addressed and this article was one of them.The entire system is designed to keep ppl in line if they want to keep their jobs as to not speak out or be a whistleblower, then again who your you going to report anything too, (just look how many Govt workers were afraid to sign the CPR sheet in fear of retaliation) XXXX

    The majority of you would condemn the officers affected without knowing the truth, but I guess that is the age we live in now. Continue to be mental slaves and making these elected officials tell you what’s best for you, see where you end up.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So here we are handing off duties of WORC staff but I’m sure they will remain getting paid the same wages. Wouldn’t it be best practice to clean house of any staff found taking bribes or services in trade for an approved permit or passed test? There are some amazing staff in this department and it must be so demoralizing seeing these crooks do this and they are not charged or fired. The DG needs to do better and clean house if he is truly here for Caymanian civil servants!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I thought WORC were going to streamline processes, and improve opportunities for Caymanians, not make it harder to do business in Cayman.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Some of the people that I come in contact with on a regular basis clearly can’t speak English so it does not surprise me that there was corruption taking place in the testing process.

  10. Anonymous says:

    That’s progress. There are a multitude of standardized English Tests around the world. They can be administered overseas or online. Pick one.

  11. Anonymous says:

    At least make the English band a minimum of B1. It is ridiculous the extremely low standard that we are willing to accept for workers on island. As a matter of fact, why not have this for all work permit holders? Other countries may have English as their first language but goodness knows they can barely communicate in English.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Will patois speaking Jamaicans and French Canadians have to satisfy anyone that they can communicate effectively in English?

  13. Anonymous says:

    How about just not being corrupt? Seems WORC is working hard trying to do less to regulate our borders.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is Madness. A degree from a U.K. or American University (for example) should be enough. We should not have to jump through these hoops just because the authorities are incompetent and corrupt. The problem is with the authorities, not the applicants.

    • Anonymous says:

      the test is only given to people who come from countries where English is not the predominant language. Don’t worry, Harvard and Cambridge grads are exempt.

    • Anonymous says:

      Canada requires an IELTS test from everyone no matter where they o gained their degree. Even if they completed university in Canada. It prevents discrimination and makes it fair all across the board.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is not fair or reasonable to make university graduate or any other person who plainly speaks a language at a high level to undertake testing hundreds of miles from their home to demonstrate that they speak the language at a basic level.

        • Anonymous says:

          These tests are available all around the world. People can do the test in their home country. I prefer Cayman bringing in an influx of educated people rather than adding idiots to the already stupid young local male population.

          The IELTS is quite difficult and does not only test ones command of English but requires individuals to have vocabulary knowledge to achieve a higher level. University graduates should be able to do well, however many do not.

      • anon says:

        How many of our own High Schoolers would pass the test?.

    • Anonymous says:

      have sense

    • Anonymous says:

      Well then Ms. or Mr. UK Uni, you should have no problem passing the simple a$$ test. So what is your damage?

      There are hundreds of completely non English speaking work permit holders here. How they passed I do not know, but have a suspicion that it might not be vertically

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