Deputy Premier: PR is a privilege not a right

| 24/11/2022 | 194 Comments
Cayman News Service
Deputy Premier Chris Saunders

(CNS): Chris Saunders, the deputy premier and minister for labour, has again refuted the idea that the PACT Government has imposed any kind of moratorium on the granting of permanent residency rights. But the minister has made it clear that government is not only taking the time to scrutinise all applications, it also has plans to change how these rights are awarded. He said that people should get PR on merit as it is not an entitlement gained merely through time spent in the Cayman Islands.

In a lengthy statement released Wednesday evening, Saunders said that while there was no freeze on permits, the application processing time has increased due to greater scrutiny.

“This has become necessary due to a number of factors, including increased reports of marriages of convenience and other questionable activity. As a result, WORC has stepped up its due diligence with regard to all applications, and in particular those which raise any red flags,” he said.

Speaking to CNS last month about the delays, Saunders said that land ownership claims, a large portion of the points system on the road to PR, were also causing concerns. In this latest statement he also implied a policy shift towards ensuring that those who are granted PR not only play by the technical rules to earn points but also have the right attitude and understanding of what it means to be granted the right to residency.

“To understand the gravity and importance of being granted permanent residence, applicants must realise and appreciate that the Caymanian community is giving you a pathway to their precious birthright,” he said, noting that it is also the first step to becoming Caymanian. “As a small population, it is important that we are mindful that our national identity remains.”

He pointed to the change in Cayman society caused by the doubling of the islands’ population in one generation and the challenges that has caused, such as the current housing crisis. Saunders said that while economic studies have been done on the problems of under-development, none have looked at rapid development such as what has occurred here.

In just eight months, from October 2021 to June this year, the population grew by 10.5%, he noted.

“It is therefore necessary, indeed imperative, that we focus on sustainable development and thoughtful population growth to ensure we have a successful society,” Saunders added, stressing the government’s intention to ensure that people granted PR would “better our community”.

He said permanent residence is not an automatic right. “It is a privilege granted to those deserving residents who have become a part of the very fabric of our community. It is not a status to be conveyed to anyone perpetuating divisions in our society,” the minister stated.

“New applicants must recognise that taking an entitlement approach is not the mindset of someone looking to integrate. People should not expect that they will be given permanent resident status automatically after being here for a certain amount of time. It does not work that way.”

Saunders said those taking shortcuts or making misrepresentations in the application process would not be rewarded, so the necessary care and due diligence would continue.

“We take this responsibility very seriously, as we would like to recognise and reward those long-term residents who have played by the rules and who have greatly benefited our community,” Saunders stated. “We don’t want to cheapen their contribution. We fully recognise that Cayman’s success was achieved in partnership with people who came here and made our islands their home.”

The existing evaluation system is currently undergoing a full review by a committee because the PACT Government believes that members of the Cayman community, not businesses or politicians, should decide who ultimately gets to join them.

With mounting complaints from applicants about PR delays and allegations coming from local law firm HSM Chambers, well known for its work with PR applicants, that the government was imposing a de facto moratorium, Saunders said this was not true and that grants were being made.

“It is the very attitude of entitlement that has grown around the issue of permanent residence that shows us we need a new approach,” Saunders said.  “People must understand that merely coming here as an employee and remaining for a certain number of years does not automatically make you entitled to PR. It merely gives you the opportunity to apply. It is how you live in our community, and your commitment to our community, that will determine whether your application is granted.”

Nevertheless, he accepted that delays in processing could impact people’s lives and plans for the future. A special project team at WORC is now reviewing the process and pending applications in date order to speed things up without compromising the scrutiny.

Saunders also released the details on the number of applications this year and stretching back to 2009. The numbers have fluctuated from a high in 2009 of 584 approvals to a low in 2016 of just 17, caused at the time by concerns over the legislation. Over the last eleven months, 98 applications have been approved and 61 refused.

“You will note that the 2022 numbers are not the lowest annual numbers by far. Look back to 2015 and 2016, when just 33 and 43 applications respectively were processed and only 37 approved in total over the two years. Where was the outcry at that time?” Saunders asked.

Permanent Residence Applications 2009-2022

YearApproved:Refused:Total # Processed:
200958411971781
2010270225495
2011323136459
2012217110327
201321292304
201424689335
2015201333
2016172643
2017550242792
2018407316723
201928585370
202016741208
2021392154546
20229861159
Totals:378827876575

Share your vote!


How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , ,

Category: Policy, Politics

Comments (194)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. daniel johns says:

    So those who have qualified for PR, and have paid the associated fees to have their applications, approved, or disapproved, are waiting for the meetings, which none are scheduled, so who is not doing their job’s yet again, Ahhhh Public Servants.

    26
    4
  2. Awesome says:

    Well that is a big Article 8 lawsuit just waiting to happen.

    28
    5
  3. Anonymous says:

    PR is a privilege NOT a right. Boy how quickly the well-to-do people living within our shores want all Caymanians to forget. Unless you are married to a Caymanian,then putting in an application for PR is not an automatic guarantee that it will be approved irregardless how long you have been here, or how much money you have invested or which of the more wealthier countries you are from.

    I plead with the government to stand firm on this issue. PR IS A PRIVILEGE NOT A RIGHT!

    Unless the Caymanian dollar falls and/or we start paying direct taxes, then those making a fuss and threatening to leave on a puff, let us remind them that there are others just waiting to take their place here in this paradise that so many other countries envy.

    22
    42
    • Unhappy Caymanian says:

      Nobody but nobody envies this rock

      Typical delusional comment

      22
      17
    • Anonymous says:

      Ummm, PR through marriage to a Caymanian is also a privilege, not a right.

      16
      4
    • Anonymous says:

      no one is suggesting it’s a right. there is an application process to be followed under the law. if the application is successful, you get PR. if it’s not, you don’t. people are upset that the government isn’t following the law. ironically what might happen is that by “standing firm”, people who otherwise might not have attained PR may end up getting it because of the government delays.

      no one is asking for a guarantee of anything. they just want the applications to processed.

      29
      2
    • Anonymous says:

      You might want to look on the front of your “Cayman” passport before you go ranting about privileges and rights. I agree Cayman PR is a privilege but for those who meet all the criteria it is also a legal right. It doesn’t matter if you or Saunders disagree because the law is clear and the courts agree. All this moratorium will do is let more people stay here who would otherwise have to go.

      26
      3
      • Anonymous says:

        you can qualify under all the criteria for PR, sending your application and still be turned down. Why? Because the board is partial, and because it can. That’s how it works in Cayman, always has and always will.

        3
        3
    • Oh says:

      Anyone who knows how the ECHR works can tell you otherwise.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Kenny, pass Chris the dunce cap, he’s going to need to take a turn wearing it for a while.

    35
    4
    • Anonymous says:

      We can order more. CBC will take a while to figure out what they are, so clearing may take a month or so. But we are gonna need them judging by this.

      15
  5. Anonymous says:

    The reason there are so many permits issued is the near-criminal $6/hr minimum wage. Caymanian employers reap a colossal profit spread on cheap labour pricing vs finished product value. They can hire 3 or 4 more than they need for each role, failing to fully-employ them once here, not paying health or pension, and misleading those lured to come on our high cost of living. What is Saunders prepared to do about that?

    26
    3
    • Anonymous says:

      12.39, Saunders is willing to anything for his Jamaican voters, just to keep his snout in the trough.

      7
      2
  6. Anonymous says:

    Question of semantics I think. PR of the Cayman Islands is most certainly a privilege however if you meet the criteria and have all the points, well then by law you’re also entitled to it. It’s hard to see how a non point based system would not be wide open to abuse by insiders.

    30
    2
  7. Anonymous says:

    Then stop forcing people to apply for PR just to keep their job for a few more years before they return “home”.

    25
    7
  8. Anonymous says:

    Try going to the USA and acting entitled to any of their citizenship and residency routes

    26
    19
    • Anonymous says:

      Nope, if you have any worthwhile skills, education or money to invest its really quite simple and quick.

      17
      10
    • Anonymous says:

      which takes less time.

      18
      3
      • Anonymous says:

        Ahh no it takes about 15-20 years if not a born American or married to one.

        3
        10
        • Anonymous says:

          lol, No it doesn’t. 5 years with investment circa $1m or even less with ‘extraordinary ability’. Most Cayman PR applicants would easily qualify for one or other. 15-20 years is if you bring little to the table.

          4
          3
        • Anonymous says:

          Only if you have no skills, education or money.

          • Andrea says:

            You’ll get granted PR and don’t pay the fee and go on the IOU list and be indebted forever for not paying but still allowed to enjoy PR benefits! Now tell me if that isn’t a deterrent for my Country to minimize or fully halt this PR give away?

        • Anonymous says:

          Clueless. “Born americans” don’t need PR, they are automatically citizens. 5 years or less for US PR aka green card through various routes besides marriage.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s pretty simple. There’s a process set out in law, follow that, meet the criteria and you’re good. Pretty much the same everywhere. Same in Cayman, the only difference here is the government are not following their own process and are going to end up in court for not following the laws they wrote.

      If you don’t like the law, that’s fine, change it, but what you can’t do is tell people this is the law, have them jump through hoops for 10 years and then pretend like the law doesn’t exist. That’s dumb. We’ll end up getting taken to court and giving a mass grant of PR, just like last time. In the mean time, everyone, including those who will ultimately be unsuccessful are getting an extension.

      31
      2
      • Corruption is endemic says:

        But that is Saunder’s plan. He only looks like a complete fool with these statements.

        He knows that eventually the Courts will rule against them and enact a mass grant to a large number of people who would not have qualified under the actual point system but will have ended up being here past 10 years due to his delays.

        In the meantime, he ends up looking tough to many of his voters as he is standing up to the “greedy expats that are ruining this place”.

        In reality we will end up with hundreds of new lower income Permanent Residents who then become Caymanian. This demographic is much more likely to vote for Saunders and his ilk than those with the wealth to easily qualify under the point system.

        25
        2
        • Anonymous says:

          Good point.

          8
          1
        • Anonymous says:

          Hadn’t thought of that. True though. Their current action will ultimately lead to more low income voters…

          9
          1
          • Anonymous says:

            all part of the plan. A new washing machine or turkey at Christmas doesn’t mean much to someone in a million-dollar house or condo.

            Unfortunately, democracy results in people getting the gov’t they deserve.

            5
            1
  9. Anonymous says:

    Funny coming from him

    18
    1
  10. JTB says:

    If you don’t like the current law Chris, then change it. But in the meantime, I’m afraid you have to abide by the law as it stands. Sticking your head in the sand is only going to end up with an expensive day in Court.

    68
    3
  11. Anonymous says:

    what an idiot

    43
    5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.