CIG expects 35,000+ work permits in 2020

| 09/12/2019 | 174 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin answers questions in the Cayman Legislative Assembly

(CNS): Government is expecting to process around 41,000 work permits next year, which means that well over 35,000 permits are likely to be granted, according to the labour ministry’s chief officer. The information was just one of a number of revelations during the recent Finance Committee hearings that pointed to Cayman’s growing population and the challenges coming with that, from traffic issues to the housing crisis.

The acting chief officer in the Ministry of Employment, Michael Ebanks, said that of the 41,000 work permits processed, around 90% could be granted. Answering questions from the opposition benches, he confirmed that it was fair to say Cayman would see at least 35,000 work permits in circulation, if not more, in 2020.

The national census will take place next year, giving an accurate assessment of the current population. But the Economics and Statistics Office’s latest headcount is around 68,000, based on figures calculated in June this year.

The latest permit figures suggest there are now around 30,000 work permit holders. But next year Cayman’s population is set to grow by at least another 5,000 people and possibly many more, once dependents, new babies and returning Caymanians are also counted, if these outstrip deaths and emigration.

Despite the significant predicted increase, Premier Alden McLaughlin has insisted his government has no specific policy to grow Cayman’s population. Although he has predicted that over the next decade Cayman’s population could grow to 100,000 people, he sees it as a consequence of the government’s economic policy rather than a policy in its own right.

He accepted that the growing number of people here is increasing the pressure on our infrastructure, especially roads and housing, but he said he would still rather have these types of problems, which are the result of economic success, than the problem of 10% local unemployment, as was the case when the first PPM-led administration took office.

In an exchange with GTC representative Kenneth Bryan, the premier noted that no strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis had ever been done to determine the negative impacts of increasing the population.

The issue was compounded last week, when the Ministry of Finance was in the Finance Committee hot seat and Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson admitted that the type of analysis on numbers that could help inform government policy was either not being done or, if it was, not necessarily passing through to shape policy.

Responding to questions, McLaughlin said the population rise was not something he could necessarily control as it was a consequence of the economic boom. Other than telling businesses they could not hire staff, there wasn’t much more than could be done, he added.

“I wish there was some convenient tap that we could turn off and say, we have had enough now,” the premier told the committee. “What we are dealing with are the challenges of success.”

But with traffic congestion reaching unprecedented levels and ordinary workers being priced out the housing market, the knock-on effect of this growing population is having some very unintended consequences.

McLaughlin said he was not insensitive to how this was impacting the community and the government was examining how developers could be persuaded to build more affordable homes. But with a booming economy and a scarcity of land, developers are focused on the high-end more lucrative market.

See the Finance Committee proceedings examining part of the premier’s employment ministry below:


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Category: Local News

Comments (174)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The United States is going to impeach their crook Donald Trump. When are we going to do the same with our crooks in Gov?

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is exactly the same pattern which created Donald Trump’s rise, Brexit, and nationalist governments in Italy, Hungary, Argentina, among others. There is a time coming soon when some Caymanians will take more drastic steps than complaining in on-line forums! Then we will all be accused of being xenophobes although that isn’t the case now. But what? WP fees add to Government’s coffers and they don’t care about jobs for Caymanians! Damn the torpedos, full steam ahead!

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  3. Pride nah gain feed us says:

    Years ago I called a radio station asking unemployed Caymanians and PR holders to MARCH wearing a particular color tee-shirt depending on their area of expertise (is. blue for trades, white for office work) so the media could get a visual statistic; but oh no, Caymanians don’t do that! Pride will be the death of us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bet they feeling it now though , cowards with alot of mout…. oh and im a pure blood BAYA too. But guess what i stood up to them for myself and now they know who their messing with i aint know body fool and slave i work hard everyday bought my land n built my house raised my child now saving for my retirement . Logwoods born and bred i rised up and made my life better so can e eryone

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