Cubans using CAL to get to mainland

| 17/06/2024 | 20 Comments
Photo credit: Cayman Airways Ltd

(CNS): Cabinet has approved amendments to the Customs and Border Control (Visas, Entry and Landing) Regulations, 2019 to introduce in-transit visas for Cuban nationals. Statistics show that significant numbers of Cuban nationals are travelling through the Cayman Islands and onto mainland South or Central American countries on a return ticket but are not returning. Instead, they attempt to make it to the United States over the mainland.

From November 2021 to November 2023, statistics from CBC and Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC) show that 12,381 people travelled on a round-trip ticket on Cayman Airways (CAL) from Havana, Cuba. However, only 3,116 people returned on the same tickets.

People are leaving their homes in search of safety and a better life, which has resulted in global unauthorised migration occurring more frequently, CBC officials said.

“Considering the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, migrants are risking everything to escape conflict, disaster, poverty or hunger. Caribbean nations are not exempt from this trend as Haitian and Cuban citizens have traversed the Caribbean Sea with the intention of arriving in the United States and thereafter seeking asylum,” officials added in a press release.

The irregular migration of Cuban nationals here poses risks to the reputation of the Cayman Islands. It also presents the risk of sanctions, the cancellation of CAL routes or visa restrictions for Caymanians and an increase in applications for asylum by Cuban nationals in transit.

The Ministry of Border Control said the measures to introduce an in-transit visa for Cuban nationals would reduce the risk of irregular migration and disincentivise passengers from Cuba from exploiting the Cayman Islands or CAL during irregular migration.

Border Control Minister Dwayne Seymour said securing Cayman’s borders isn’t just about lines on a map. “It’s about safeguarding our nation’s integrity and ensuring the safety of our citizens. By taking proactive measures to manage irregular migration, we not only mitigate risks but also uphold the values of order and security that define us as a nation,” he said.

The amendments to the regulations are to ensure that the visa application poses the appropriate questions and includes the pertinent data points to assist CBC visa officers in making the decisions to approve or deny visas.

The amended regulations will come into effect on 5 August.

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Category: Border Control, Crime

Comments (20)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Are these included in the seat counts we see when Cayman Airways “stats” are debated?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great. This is just another reason the USA is going to be more restrictive of travel for Caymanians. To be honest there’s no point in visiting CUBA so why do we even run that flight?

    The only thing that flight does is to aid illegal Cuban migration to other nations. Risk not worth the reward. Just cancel it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I guess that’s why CAL had so much flights to Cu

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nicaragua’s Ortega waived visa requirements for Cubans in late 2021, encouraging transit onward to the USA. This has ramped up Central American migration towards southern USA border. It’s not Trump or Biden driving this traffic, it’s Ortega. Last month the USA imposed a new set of sanctions against Ortega’s regime for repression, human smuggling, and “weaponisation of migration”. Be that as it may, qualifying Cubans with USA relatives can still be legitimately sponsored via CBP’s Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program and legally enter and stay in the USA, instead of living in Cuba. It’s really a no brainer. Getting there is the harder part. CAL might think to check this paperwork, get it pre-approved, and fly these folks direct to Miami. Maybe their American relatives can fly to Cayman and meet halfway and take them home directly? Our Tourism and Border control are too busy obstructing and being mean than taking time to understand the motivation behind regional migration/family reunification. Cuba wants them to go!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Very rapid response to this “problem”. It’s only been going 15 or 20 years via CAL.

  6. Anonymous says:

    CAL is basically run for the benefit of Cuba. Cubans get to fly from Miami via Cayman with no weight restrictions on their baggage while Caymanians wait in line and watch the confusion at the check-in counter.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I hear this is what the Barbados route was mostly used for. One way travel to Barbados and then onwards from there.

    • Anonymous says:

      to where? that is like saying the tourism would pick up from the UK because more people would come via that route..cheaper to fly to Panama or La Ceiba and start there

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you even know WHERE in the Caribbean Barbados is?

  8. Anonymous says:

    You have to assume high level US Authorities have been conversing their concerns with Dwayne on this one, that would have been a laff…

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh yes, and I dare bet they took everything he said with half a grain of salt as he is a man of the highest order of integrity😂

  9. Anonymous says:

    Gosh, USA is such a bad place to emigrate to… (sarcasm for those Cayman educated). It’s sad that Caymanian’s are so quick to blame expats for ALL their ‘home-grown’ problems, yet expat countries are where all educated/enlightened Caymanians want to settle to. And USA expats are very few of the Caymanian expats – but let’s blame them for ALL of our issues. Caymanians – look in the mirror and take responsibility; elect better Ministers; stop your generational corruption; stop electing convicted criminals to your Ministral posts – basically GROW UP!

    • Take warning says:

      7:44 pm take ya meat out me rice.

      If you don’t understand the saying meet me at Fidel Murphys at noon tomorrow June 20th and i promise to give you a resounding cultural lesson. BTW for your ease I’ll be wearing RED.

  10. Anonymous says:

    wonder what we would do if we were the Cubans and they were us?

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is about time this is stopped or at least regulated more closely. The Cayman Islands is seen as facilitating illegal immigration. We should avoid being associated with this activity, regardless of how much we may want to help Cuban nationals. We have too much to lose by turning a blind eye to this situation. Jamaica was recently told to cease facilitating similar travel. Why are we continuing down this path?

    • Anonymous says:

      The USA CBP’s Cuban Family Reunification Parole (CFRP) Program is not an illegal immigration method, and it’s with the blessing of the Cuban government also. Taking CAL is quite a bit safer than the cardboard boats, and it comes with a delightful glass of rum punch on each flight. CAL should be leaning in to this gift horse opportunity, instead of swatting it away.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why don’t they reunify in Cuba? They can’t help but drone on about how great it is all the time.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nice try. CFRP allows US citizens or permanent residents to apply for their Cuban relatives to travel to the US. If they qualify they are allowed entry while they wait on their regular Visas. American Airlines have regular flights to Hanava. If all Cuban nationals traveling on KX qualified for entry under CFRP, they why come to Cayman first? As the previous poster mentioned, we have too much to lose. The situation needs tighter control.

  12. Anonymous says:

    So they didn’t realise that this was happening? Next thing you know Cuba will refuse CAL permission to fly over.


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