Over 400 global citizens living in Cayman

| 13/10/2021 | 154 Comments

(CNS): Since the Global Citizen Concierge Programme was rolled out one year ago, allowing the Cayman Islands to take advantage of ‘digital nomads’, 219 families have been granted the certificate that allows them to live in Cayman and work remotely for up to two years. Officials from the tourism ministry said this equated to around 430 people. Although they fall within the visitor category, WORC has confirmed that there is nothing to prevent these long-term visitors from becoming permanent residents via the various categories for wealthy people.

The ministry confirmed that the programme, which will remain open until November 2022, continues to attract new applicants and there are 34 currently pending.

The fee for two people is just US$1,469 per year, so government has made no more than around $330,000 in direct revenue. However, the hope is that these individuals will have contributed much more to the local economy through their general living expenses and renting accommodation.

To qualify, applicants must earn a minimum of US$100,000 annually if applying as an individual, or US$150,000 with a partner and US$180,000 with dependents. This money must be earned from work generated outside the Cayman Islands, since the aim is to attract people who can use technology to work entirely remotely from the source of their business or employer.

Although these wealthy individuals are not allowed to do any work based in Cayman, they are not prohibited from investing in property. This means they could stay much longer than the allotted two years by applying for permanent residency through the provision for independent means.

The special immigration group was created to attract short-term, wealthy visitors while the borders remained closed to tourists. But according to a spokesperson from WORC, there is nothing in the law that would prevent these digital nomads from applying for PR if they meet the criteria provided for the well-off in the five different categories that deal with people of independent means.

Purchasing property remains the easiest route for the well-heeled to put down long-term or permanent roots in the Cayman Islands. As little as US$1 million in property is enough to secure 25 years residency, which in today’s housing market is not very much at all.

This provision for the rich to settle without any other connection to the islands is considered one of several factors that has overinflated Cayman’s properly market, fuelled the excessive coastal development and pushed home-ownership beyond the reach of local people.


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Comments (154)

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  1. Plain Truth says:

    It’s amazing how ignorance can paint a picture of gloom. When the wealthy come here to live for a while to escape the pain of Covid elsewhere, we aught to be grateful, because they are spending money in our economy for goods and services which helps to keep every citizen of this country employed. However, those rich in ignorance don’t seem to understand basic micro economics, so how would they understand more complex macro economics? Yet their voices are the loudest. And everything is the government’s fault. Their own people sold their land; their inheritance and now they are complaining that they don’t have land and that government is to blame? How simple can one be? The day these same people from foreign stop coming here because they feel unwelcome here by this same set of complainers, is the day those same complainers will starve to death. You can take it from me, I am Caymanian to the core. And it galls me to hear the ignorance some of my own people are spewing. Our grandparents had nothing when they were growing up. They didn’t complain or blame the government. Instead they went to sea and became Captains and Engineers and Chief Cooks. They had ambition. The lack of Ambition, common sense and understanding combined with ignorance and vocal propensity will be the downfall of Cayman if the trend continues.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great …however I got a small Resturant and I’m self employed. I have not seen any new customers. I am struggling really struggling to keep the lights on. I was also recently asked to isolate due to a positive case in my child’s class. I did not work for two weeks.
      Please ask these rich persons who we seem to be welcoming with open arms to please spend a bit more. My only customers are the persons who have been here before Covid decided to come to Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        We should all support restaurants like yours! Small, independent family owned businesses in countries like the USA serve up the best food.

        • Anonymous says:

          Except the one that has not paid employees pensions and keeps appearing in court for not paying pensions. Then doesn’t pay pensions again.
          Not getting my business.

      • Anonymous says:

        People should not be expected to eat at your restaurant. You are expected to attract them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said. You have to realize that 50 per cent of this island are non caymanian expats, and we also struggle to buy property and cope with the price levels and inflation. It’s a global
      Issue, not a cayman issue. And the market pays fair wages for the relevant skill set and work ethic in all jobs. Thank you.

  2. Welcome newbies! says:

    Global Citizens, Welcome! Just please treat everyone here with kindness and respect, and try to contribute positively to your newly adopted society. Thanks!

  3. Anonymous says:

    More expats paying rent to expat homeowners and eating at expat owned restaurants. All while the government pockets 300k.

  4. Black Kush Land says:

    Amen 5:31pm and now the variations to their global citizens status that they are now applying for will put Caymanians and their children totally out of the picture in their own island. How truly sad for this little island and it’s people and along with the ppm’s permanent residency giveaway.over 12K The displacement program has been a successful plan for them but not for the environment or Cayman or its people it’s virtual death blow to our future. We now see it in their attempts to subvert and bully the government on political issues and social media. Cayman is F#$% I am afraid!

    • Anonymous says:

      Where do you think government gets it’s income for schools roads hospital police and so on.
      YOU don’t pay, so let the foreigners do it for you.

    • Anonymous says:

      McKeeva is the one who away permanent residency. He hasn’t been forgive for it. It bad enough that Caymanians forget about history without comments like this trying to change history.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Rich or poor breath the same toxic air from the Dump and misquote control. No money in the world would change that. And when your health is gone it is gone for good. Won’t happen overnight though, let them enjoy the “paradise” for awhile.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just curious what kind of jobs these people do – so I can try to give my child the education to reach that level.

    • Anonymous says:

      Financiers, accountants, brokers, etc, etc. White collar number crunchers

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think you understand. Unlike work permit holders who hold jobs working for cayman entities providing services in cayman, the global entity scheme was set up to attract people to spend money here during the pandemic and our border closure. So they are permitted to be physically in cayman but providing services for their businesses outside of cayman, so they are unlikely to be doing specific cayman based jobs to aspire to as such. They could be running a clothing company that sells in Italy and makes in China, or a dating app matching people in France, or a Swedish good manufacturer. Who knows – any business you can think of.

    • Anonymous says:

      Apart from a will to work for it , the major difference between a successful foreigner and a struggling Caymanian is…..EDUCATION…..

      • Anonymous says:

        No, no, it’s all the expats fault and not the CIG who fail to provide a good education. Get with the program!

        • Anonymous says:

          The insistence on regional teachers , brings with it regional standards.
          When the big world is your customer base, your international customers will expect world standards.

      • Anonymous says:

        That ship has sailed. Education should have been priority number one decades ago with a focus on these jobs the expats have. Systemic poverty is endemic and now that it is in full swing, there is no turning back. This is what capitalism is all about. Winners and losers, and we all know which is which.

      • Anonymous says:

        To be fair CIG spends more on education per pupil than every other country in the world (except Luxembourg) and by a considerable margin.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well, they don’t exactly spend it on education, do they? They spend it on school buildings and infrastructure, not teachers or syllabus.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or corruption

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed. This should be the #1 budget line item on the CIG budget. Every Cayman child (with suitable grades) should have education paid for by CIG for as far as they are will to take it.

        Following which, every Cayman child should be allowed to get work experience outside of Cayman for as long as necessary with out the Tara Rivers situation coming up as an issue.

      • Anonymous says:

        14 @ 7:34 am – Not always. I’ve heard some real uneducated expats expound on local radio stations. Poor pronunciation, lack of certain knowledge.. let’s not pretend ALL expats are well educated!!

        BTW, I know a Welshman who lives happily smoking weed all day at a local hangout…doesn’t seem to display too much will to work.

        So let’s get off the stereotyping and blanket descriptions!

      • Anonymous says:

        And access to capital

  7. Anonymous says:

    These people started to come to live here around end of 2020…when there was no COVID in the community – that would have been a major driving force to choose Cayman. And as most of them have families, their children, who presumably enrolled in schools here, were able to physically go to school, without mask or any other restriction. With the current community spread and the PACT government’s new slogan of “Learn to live with COVID-19” – lets see how many of those global citizens continue to live here and for how long. If they have to learn to live with COVID, they have the means to do it anywhere in the World, doesn’t have to be in Cayman!

    • Anonymous says:

      They were only ever here for a year or two until their countries passed them worst of it anyway. Take the ok for example – now fully open and covid is no longer front page news and under control, so likely any global citizen from uk would
      Now choose to go back regardless of our slow covid policy here.

  8. Anonymous says:

    They Still will be breathing toxic fumes from the Dump. Money can’t fix that.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Boy me sorry for the poor caymanian children who st this rate will never able to own a home in their own little island,tell you what try go to other country and do it,greediness choke puppy

    • Anonymous says:

      Blame your government for providing a sub par standard of education.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anyone with any work ethic, worthwhile skill, education or money can live and work in just about any country on earth. So yes, tried it, it was great. What’s your point?

      • Anonymous says:

        The poor have no bootstraps to pull up, bobo

        • Anonymous says:

          So all the qualified Jamaican and Filipino electricians, engineers, welders, gas fitters, site foremen, marine mechanics, etc.. that I see on a daily basis are just passing the time until their trust funds mature I guess.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nonsense. It will be harder, but the next generation can club together and start small. Buy a 1 bed and rent it out. Then another. It will take 20 years to get their own, but it is doable, especially with government support. People need to be educated on how to do it. The fact is that standing in the sidelines complaining about what is a global phenomenon helps no one and achieves nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Getting just what you deserve is Gods way. It is available to all but only about half will take it. The other half will cry, nash their teeth and blame the successful one for their failures. Like you.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They love money, they love to tell you they have money and they don’t give a damn about anything other than money. Good people though.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve met them all have you? All 400? What a silly and generalising statement. You should be ashamed of yourself and just sound jealous.

      • Anonymous says:

        Spoken like a true believer in classism.

      • Anonymous says:

        There’s a word for people that ascribe negative characteristics to entire groups of people without even knowing them.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes… for us the word is “expat” because that’s the group that has been coming to Cayman for decades ascribing negative characteristics on entire groups of Caymanians who are not white or wealthy. The expat has a special affinity towards the Caymanian who is greedy or so eager to be viewed as “not like the rest of them” because that kind of Caymanian will confirm or do anything the expat says, thereby solidifying the negative narrative that has been sowed to disparage, discount and discourage Caymanians.

          If Caymanians don’t serve your personal agendas, we are considered undesirable. Today by the ‘expat standard’, ALL Caymanians are lazy. ALL Caymanians are unemployable. ALL Caymanians are entitled. ALL Caymanians are uneducated. ALL Caymanians are racist.

          So, YES – “there’s a word for people that ascribe negative characteristics to entire groups of people without even knowing them.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like they fit in perfectly in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, at least they’re not bitter pricks like you.

    • Anonymous says:

      To 3.35pm. TROLL.TROLL. Get lost troll. There’s no way you have met them all, in fact it is more likely that you have not met any of them.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The islands selling their soul (and prime real estate) to persons who will give nothing back and making home ownership for working Caymanians impossible. No other country in the world would allow this. They don’t even pay ongoing property or capital gains tax. Madness.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most countries don’t have property tax. I’m the uk we certainly don’t… for my property I brought in cayman after 8 years living here, I pay strata which covers garbage collection etc. why should I pay more tax on top of the vast work permit fees my employer pays, the stamp duty I have paid, and excessive import duties paid daily in supermarkets daily etc, all of which by me being here already generates huge for the government? The expats on this island already generate the vast majority of governemnt revenues,

      • Anonymous says:

        You are evading tax if you don’t pay it on UK property. You also have to pay tax on any rental income you earn on it. You will also have to pay CGT if you sell it. None of those are levied on foreign owners in Cayman. I guess ignorance is bliss.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not true. There is no property tax in the UK. You only pay income tax on net rental income over your personal allowance(s) assuming it is held privately and you can easily avoid CGT, if there are any gains, by living in it for a period.

          • Anonymous says:

            Council Tax

          • Anonymous says:

            I pity your financial brain or assume you are a fraud. Council/poll tax = property tax. If you do not live in your property as a PPR you pay CGT, that is unless you lie to the tax authorities. Move on as stop spuing fake news!

            • Anonymous says:

              Bless. Council tax is paid by the occupier, not the owner. The poll tax was also paid by every resident adult not the owner and was abolished in 1993. There is no “property tax” in the UK.

              As for CGT lots of ways to legitimately reduce or eliminate that.

              Pity away LOL

            • Anonymous says:

              Poll tax = property tax? Oh dear. Google poll tax and stop embarrassing yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      2:48 – No other country in the world? Have you seen what’s happened in the USA? Miami, for example, is just about all foreign owed through shell companies. It’s been lost to these people who only need a place to park their cash. Canada tried to limit foreigners from buying out their country (mostly Chinese) with a foreign investor tax on real estate.. didn’t work. It’s everywhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL. Practically every country allows this and most countries don’t have CGT on primary residences either. Next.

      • Anonymous says:

        These properties are not primary residences. Tell me what countries don’t have an annual property tax or charge tax on rental income.

    • Anonymous says:

      How ignorant can you be?

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      They pay the same “taxes” as we do in the form of duties and stamp tax.

      If they are American citizens, they also pay taxes there.

      • Anonymous says:

        They pay more; more in fees and no first time buyer stamp duty waiver either (and probably a lot more import duty too).

        • Anonymous says:

          Why should we place more value on who pays more? At the end of life, we all end up the same way. Too much importance on who has the gold here.

          • Anonymous says:

            We shouldn’t you’re right; the point was clearly that they don’t pay “the same” taxes; in addition to what we pay they pay permit fees which we don’t have to and they can’t get waivers on stamp duty either.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most people buying are working folks too. Just saying.

      You can’t be expecting a civil servant to be buying in lacovia right?

    • Anonymous says:

      They are not looking for the same property as you.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wow, what a turnaround, where are all the driftwood, anti expat, furriner comnents LOL

  13. Anonymous says:

    The Global Citizen Concierge Program sounds like a good initiative generally — especially if (both in theory and reality) they spend money in the domestic economy, but only engage in profit-earning activities (business, trade, employment and profession) outside of the Cayman Islands only.

    It is a positive initiative to have good people, who spend money locally and do not compete (or intercept) domestic business opportunities or employment opportunities.

    For now, I make no comment about the property market issues — although I am a Caymanian who, based on current market value of property, am not able to purchase my on first residential property.

    So, to all Global Citizens, welcome to the Cayman Islands.

    Some questions to pose, which I do not know answer to, are as follows:

    (1st) Can a Global citizen make networking contacts in the Cayman Islands with a local employer and then return to work shortly after leaving the Cayman Islands upon (or before) the duration of the two years? If yes, what are the time limits (if any) before they can return? Simply put, can the Global Citizen Concierge Program allow Global Citizens an opportunity to scout the territory for employment or business opportunities domestically and then return?

    (2nd) If a Global Citizen engages in domestic trade/business (or employment in contravention of the law) what are the penal sanctions? Administrative fines? And/or a custodial sentence on summary conviction?

    In any event, I hope this Global Citizen initiative works we for both the Global Citizens and for the Cayman Islands (without disadvantaging Caymanian citizens and permanent residents).

    • Anonymous says:

      This program should have included a clause that these persons couldn’t buy property or apply for PR.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed and it still can be made even retroactively. A license does to work does not guarantee nothing else including residency or property title.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point. There is a lot of subversion of the laws here.

      Hope no lawyers come down and practice unlicensed Cayman law without practicing certificate.

      You will never here the end of it. I thought these Caymanian lawyers were complaining about nothing at first. But, I looked into it myself, and they are actually correct.

  14. Your fellow neighbor. says:

    I think CIG has an obligation to educate Global Citizens and other expats on how to adjust to life in the Cayman Islands. I think many people come here without an understanding that they are coming to very small islands, with fewer than 100k inhabitants, most of whom are only 1 or 2 degrees of separation from each other. Practically every face you run into, you will run into again at some point, be it socially or professionally. All of these inhabitants are your neighbors, therefore being kind and cordial to those neighbors is important. Having a sense of community is important. A lot of these Global Citizens are from much larger communities where everyone keeps to themselves. I think it would help to coach people up and let them know that it is ok to smile at the person you pass on the sidewalk, or that you’re standing next to in the elevator. In Cayman, we (particularly longer term residents and Caymanians) are accustomed to saying hello and good morning to people, even strangers. It adds to the sense of community and it is one of the things that makes Cayman special.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is so true. Then Cayman Islands is a vet interpersonal, interactive society. These little things go along way in these Islands.

    • Al Catraz says:

      “Practically every face you run into, you will run into again at some point, be it socially or professionally.”

      …and so will your spouse, one might hasten to add.

      It’s easy to keep a secret in Cayman, as long as everyone knows what it is.

      • Anon. says:

        @ Al Catraz – Wow, way to take someone’s attempt to better our society and smear it with toxicity. I expect your even more toxic retort to this comment in 3, 2, 1…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Excellent news and welcome.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t add much but it doesn’t hurt. Nothing wrong with letting in law-abiding people and families who will spend a bit of money here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, it does hurt. These incoming wealthy persons are buying up property left-right-and-center, increasing property prices by log orders, making it more difficult for young Caymanians to get on the property ladder. Same old story. . .building a Cayman for wealthy ex-pats to the detriment of young Caymanians.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fairly certain that every property sold originated with a Caymanian – your own people are selling the properties to those willing to pay more instead of ensuring Caymanian youth have a piece of the islands. So you might want to look to your Caymanian neighbors with your upset because without them selling nobody could buy and run the prices high.

        • Anonymous says:

          Absolutely! Caymanians are the ones that have given concessions to large developments and subsidized rich foreigners buying up properties. How many oceanfront condos and homes sit empty as an investment? When you make a deal with the Devil, you have to live with the consequences.

          • Anonymous says:

            Those who are fortunate enough to be able to give concessions to the wealthy developers and make a deal with the Devil, will be shielded from the consequences. The poor will always struggle and face the consequences of unending capitalism.

      • Anonymous says:

        Never a caymanians fault, hey! You should looo closer to home… you’re the ones who vote the people in after all. The issue is education.

      • Anonymous says:

        The tax free status is the biggest carrot ever to the wealthy. They will buy every single piece of property here and every piece of land to profit and to avoid taxes, with no regard for the local people.

      • Anonymous says:

        All part of the plan

  17. Anonymous says:

    Maybe my maths is off but bear with me. Let’s assume the average global citizen spends $100k a year in Cayman (rent, food, entertainment, utilities, transport, services etc, etc, etc). Let’s also assume the average cruise passenger spends $500 in Cayman (seems high to me, but I want to be fair). That’s a multiple of 200. That would mean that these 400 global citizens equate to 80,000 cruise ship tourists. Seems like a good deal for Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are being more than fair with regard to cruise ship passenger spending. Depending on who you talk to, the average daily spend is between $75 and $125 per passenger per visit. The average daily spend for a stayover tourist isn’t even $500 if you exclude accommodations.
      Regardless, you are right: it’s a good deal for Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Especially if the average cruise shipper is closer to $100-$200, and even that might be high for Carnival.

    • Anonymous says:

      $100k and $500? More like $200k and $50!

    • JTB says:

      I doubt the average cruise passenger even spends $50

    • Anonymous says:

      Except, the actual number of cruise passengers was abut 1,800,000. Yes almost two million.
      That might wobble your numbers in favor of cruisers, particularly when you factor in the automatic $17 that government charges every passenger on the manifest.
      So real cruise income to govt cash register is over $30 million before they spend anything.
      I don’t like them either, but it’s hard to turn away that income that helps to fund all the services we get for free , and complain about.

      • Anonymous says:

        30m gross excluding all associated costs? In context that’s what? 3% of CIG budget? Not worth it.

        • Anonymous says:

          $30,000,000 pays a lot of bills, wether you think it’s worth it or not.
          But please do come up with another income stream to replace the $30Mil. and we can be cruise tourist free.

          • Anonymous says:

            30m gross, there are many associated costs with that 30m both direct and indirect. Besides cutting CIG budget by 2-3% shouldn’t be that hard.

            • Anonymous says:

              Maybe it cuts into productivity and spend of other tourist and reduces the level hotel can charge for rooms.

    • Anonymous says:

      I bet it’s closer to 1 million cruise shippers, plus the resident’s money doesn’t just go to a few select businesses but gets spread wide from government fees and duties, rent, car, boat dealers etc through to employing nannys, cleaners etc…

    • Anonymous says:

      It is even better when you consider that the average cruise passenger spend is much closer to $5 than $500.

    • Anonymous says:

      Average spent by cruise ship tourists on Cayman is $50, i.e. 800,000 cruise shippers vs 400 global citizens

    • Anonymous says:

      Except that the actual statistics state that the average cruise shipper spends between $75-$150 (and that is a generous stat) nowhere near $500

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s highly unlikely that the so called global citizen spends 100k in cayman. What a dream. They only have to show that they earn at least 100k USD per year. Sorry, but 100k USD isn’t crap these days. You’ll be lucky if they spend half of that in cayman. And as they say that fake vaccine cards are easy to obtain, it’s much easier to produce fake tax returns to qualify for that global citizen program.😁

  18. Merlin says:

    very depressing for me as a local looking to purchase a Home but has constantly hit brick walls in the process, at this point I am to the realization that I will never own a home here as I am not on the wealthy level as these Global citizens are!….smh

    • Anonymous says:

      they not buying at your level

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel for you Mr. Wizard.

      Firstly, I would blame your government. If they managed to put in a decent road infrastructure, prices wouldn’t be so heavily inflated everywhere west of Hurleys. Also, it’s market economics driven very hard by CIREBA agents who price fix.

      Finally, most large scale developments in places like the UK must provide some affordable housing in order to be given planning permission. Here the CPA just let folks do what they want unfortunately. Best of luck.

      • Anonymous says:

        Economics fail. No one can unilaterally set transaction prices for obvious reasons and certainly not the clowns in CIREBA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Envy much?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry Merlin but gov only cares about that stamp duty.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a problem worldwide, not just in Cayman.
      I’ve told my kids, they will likely never own a house in a great location. Next best is a condo in a suburb and hopefully they won’t have to travel into work during rush hour.

    • Anonymous says:

      If these folks are buying 1M+ homes then how does it effect you?

      • Anonymous says:

        The elites like this post

      • Anonymous says:

        @2:14 simple – heavy demand for homes whether apartments or single dwellings drive up the price for land, building materials and labor. Therefore the lower income earner, hoping to build a small1500 sq ft home has to pay the same high prices. A home that would have cost say $100 per sq ft 5 years ago is now $200. It’s called inflation! That’s how it affects everyone looking to own a home.

        • Anonymous says:

          You think a few hundred people moving to Cayman has driven up the global cost of building materials?MKay

    • Anonymous says:

      I imagine most of them rent, or if they buy it’s only on the West/SMB area

    • Anonymous says:

      Improve your education and skills. Start your own business, it’s tax-free here till 2023.

    • Anonymous says:

      This isn’t a Cayman thing. This is a global thing. Those baby boomers buying houses for $10.25 had it lucky.

  19. Anonymous says:

    good scheme in general.

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