IAT chair will recuse from PR and status appeals

| 17/01/2024 | 34 Comments
Steve McField

(CNS): The chairperson of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal, Steve McField, will be expected to recuse himself from any appeals that relate to decisions made by the Permanent Residency and Caymanian Status Board between October 2021 and September 2023 while he chaired that board. It remains unclear how many PR applications were decided under the points system during the last few years as the board did not meet on a regular basis. Concerns have nevertheless been raised about the decision to put McField in a position where he could be conflicted, leading to even more delays.

However, Wesley Howell, the chief officer in the Ministry for Border Control and Labour, explained to CNS that with five deputies who are all experienced lawyers, McField will not have to chair the IAT for appeals relating to PR or status.

“Given the qualifications of the chair and the deputy chairs, the Tribunal can operate in up to six distinct divisions at the same time, if needed,” Howell said in response to our questions. “Each division is led (chaired) by either the chairperson or a deputy chairperson and at least two other members. Every division is considered a fully operational Immigration Appeals Tribunal, with the authority to hear and decide appeals.”

He noted that it would be expected that, as a member of the Cayman Bar, McField would recuse himself from hearing an appeal on any matter in which he presided or was involved. “There would be no opportunity or concern of Dr McField chairing a tribunal that would review an immigration case he was involved with as the former chairman of the CSPR board,” Howell stated.

The Immigration Appeals Tribunal is established and functions under the provisions of section 17 of the Immigration (Transition) Act. The law requires the chairperson and the five deputies to be qualified attorneys, with a minimum of seven years legal experience for the chairman and five years for the deputies.

The IAT has become increasingly busy since the former Progressive administration removed the previous work permit seven-year term limit (aka roll-over) almost ten years ago. Since the legislative changes foreign nationals have been allowed to stay here for up to ten years, and as a result, each year dozens more people have become eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Although the change in legislation led to a surge in applications, not all of them have achieved the 110 points to qualify. However many people who have been refused the right to reside here because they didn’t get enough points have mounted successful legal challenges against WORC and the IAT in the courts about the lack of transparency, the arbitrary nature of how the point system works and the fact that it could be unconstitutional.

With a backlog of over a thousand people waiting on PR and with the government clamping down on marriages of convenience, there are concerns that in the near future, the entire process could present a major legal headache for the government.

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Category: Local News, Politics

Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s clear as day he should recuse or be made to. The conflict shouldn’t have been created in the first place!

    Morons in charge!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Third world people are more comfortable doing things third world ways. Only in third world will you find many getting paid for not doing the job. Only in third world will you find laws being disregarded by those in charge. Cayman Islands have a long way to go and are still going backwards in many ways. But that is part of it’s charm.

  3. Anonymous says:

    mac is the reason for the huge population increases. those of us who have paid our dues are in limbo and yet here we are stuck with thousands who shouldn’t be here.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Macfield gets paid for 2 years whilst not deciding on a single PR case. He then gets paid for hearing zero appeals because there were no cases heard. Sounds like a sound business model!

    • Anonymous says:

      He was getting paid NOT to hear applications – easy way to avoid having to either grant them, or refuse them and open CIG to an appeal. Now he’s getting paid not to hear appeals either – you cant appeal to the next level, the Grand Court, if they don’t even hear the first appeal.

      Its political genius. The only way around it is either the governor exercising her responsibilities for good administration and getting WORC to extract the digit – highly unlikely as it doesn’t really worry the UK what CIG gets up to as long as it doesn’t cost the UK money or interfere with security or international obligations – or someone to bring a judicial review for failure to deal with applications in a timely manner.

      To paraphrase the great Dwayne Seymour, someone seeking status or PR would have to be very brave or foolish to do that. Eventually the pressure will mount to the point where either some brave soul or perhaps a collection will mount an action, at which point the entire edifice will collapse probably resulting in a mass grant, including those who wouldnt have qualified if dealt with properly. But it wont be during the current governments administration, and none of the individuals involved, from those setting the policy to those enacting it, will pay a bean – taxpayer will foot the bill. So hey ho.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Steve McField clearly has no conceptual understanding of ‘conflict of interest’. He will be sitting in judgment over decisions that took place when he was a member of the Immigration Board. Even a blind dog could see the obvious conflict of interest here.

    • you better not cry says:

      all you @4:36, dont even think about it, i.e your perception of a possible conflict of interest. Rather, you should be watching for the full moon through your window pane and wondering am I next?.

    • Anonymous says:

      Given his known hostility to non Caymanians, appointing him as chair of the board in the first place was a pretty clear indication of backdoor government policy. Making him chair of the IAT was doubling down. Anyone think it’s going to make a difference whether Steve hears an appeal, or one of his deputies, selected by the same government? The board and the IATare stepping stones to the Grand Court, where some adherence to the rule of law can hoped for. For those who can afford that route and the delays, of course.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just bring up some of his rabid anti expat tirades from the radio talk shows over the years. That should be enough to disqualify him from any role on immigration.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Breaking News: Chairman of IAT has to recuse himself from 0 PR appeals because in his two years as chairman of the CSPR Board not a single PR application on the points system was denied by that board. None were granted either. At least that resolves half the problem.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Ummmm – does not the Chairman of the IAT set the policy for the IAT that the IAT must follow?

    The Captain is always right. Steve is the Captain.

  9. Corruption is endemic says:

    What will he actually be doing beside drawing a paycheque?

    Presumably that will be the bulk of what the IAT deals with during his term…

    • Anonymous says:

      He will be denying appeals, of course!

    • Anonymous says:

      presiding over denials by the work permit board / CIO.

      The reality is that there shouldn’t be too many appeals from status applications – the requirements are straightforward. There’s no good reason for them to be stalled other than politics.

      PR is more complicated as there is an element of discretion as to who is approved.

      Hopefully they fix the PR system soon but I’m not holding my breath.

      • Anonymous says:

        The requirements are straightforward – but just ignored. Like the unofficial policy of rejecting applications from those who applied as minors but hit 18 whilst awaiting the board to make a decision. No basis in law whatsoever for it. A successful appeal on one case before the then IAT chair the now current CJ, following which she is replaced as chair of the IAT by Steve. And now we are back into classic CIG territory- faced with a position where the law would require you to do something you don’t want to do – be it fix PR and stays, deal with the dump or sort out the traffic – just do nothing. The status appeals will just add to the backlog of the status applications that aren’t being dealt with either.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Put me on the PRCS Board!! No more “new” Caymanians!!

    We have enough population now!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      So change the law!

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not that easy because of the Constitution. You’d need to change that first.

        • Anonymous says:

          No. That is why we have term limits. If people are rolled over they do not get a constitutional right to stay. If you however let them stay too long, including by ignoring their applications, then the Constitution kicks in!

  11. Anonymous says:

    A 1000 more people, who if have children multiply that exponetially. Why not just come here for a few years on a valid permit and enjoy your time here?



    • Anonymous says:

      Because the Government got rid of a 7 year term limit. That was a mistake. The consequence is that almost EVERYONE gets to apply for PR.
      The Government then made points for PR much easier to get than the system was designed or intended for. That was a mistake. The consequence is that almost EVERYONE that applies for PR, gets granted PR.
      All of these problems stem from a misunderstanding of term limits and haphazard application of them.

      • Anonymous says:

        More the classic Cayman two-tier service problem: that with the right cell phone call to the right MP, from the right donor or friend, an unqualifying permit holder can get their file pulled out of the jumbled waitlisted pile and entirely bypass the PR process and requirements.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am behooved upon this hour in much pondering of this ordeal that der is one man to solve this pickle and that is the wisdom intellect and foresight of the Sir Honorable Dwayne the Rock Seymour to decide whether an applicant is indeed worthy for PR status and can chill in mi yard. Some say the Rock needs only to stare into the eyes of the applicant to judge right of passage. Tanks Rock we need you like the desert needs the rain

  13. Anonymous says:

    Imagine the hissy fit he will have if he is asked to recuse.


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