Special Economic Zone

The Cayman Islands Government is facilitating and encouraging further economic growth and attracting additional international investment through the recent enactment of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Law.  This Law, which specifically caters for exempted companies and exempted limited partnerships, creates an alternative licensing regime, as well as a number of additional incentives for entities that have already established, or wish to establish, a physical presence in the Islands.

Organisations located within Cayman’s special economic zones by Cayman Enterprise City (CES) may carry on business in any part of the world, however, business activities conducted in the Cayman Islands are restricted to activities that are in furtherance of offshore business. In other words, they cannot compete in the domestic Cayman Islands market.

With an SEZ Enterprise Trade Certificate, a business can, for example, effect and conclude contracts in the Islands, open bank accounts and exercise all of its powers necessary for the carrying on of business overseas.

Although these same activities can be carried out by businesses in the Cayman Islands which do not have an SEZ Enterprise Trade Certificate, a Certificate provides benefits, including exemption or partial exemption from aspects of the Immigration Law, the Trade and Business Licensing Law, Customs Law and other legislation.

In particular, there is no need to advertise job opportunities within the SEZs, special annual work permits are available and arranged by CEC, there are particular benefits arising due to reduced administration and no import duty is payable in respect of a wide range of items (including computer equipment) required by qualified entities established within the SEZs.

Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) is an award-winning development project which consists of three special economic zones focused on attracting knowledge-based and specialised-services businesses. The zones included within CEC are Cayman Tech City, Cayman Commodities & Derivatives City and Cayman Maritime & Aviation City. In November 2018 ground was broken on their highly anticipated campus which will be just over 50 acres and located between South Sound and George Town. Until these facilities become available, there are provisions for existing commercial space to be treated as gateway spaces into the SEZs. Over 250 businesses are already operating within Strathvale House, Britcay House, The Flagship Building and Breezy Castle Building.

Enterprises set up within the SEZs are also exempt (subject to certain conditions) from any liability or obligation to pay any direct or indirect taxes, import or other duties, or fees (including in respect of registration, filing, employment, profits, income, gains, appreciations, transfers, assets, property, real estate, planning consents, gifts, estate duty, stamp duty, inheritance, import, export, or otherwise, with specific exemption from import duty on branded stationery, marketing materials and related paraphernalia of SEZ enterprises that may be, are, or are to be levied by or on behalf of the Government between now and the end of the 2061 calendar year.

One of the attractive features of setting up within the SEZs is the bundling of most, if not all, of the regulatory costs attached to carrying on business in and from the Cayman Islands into a single fee payable to CEC. Another attractive benefit is the speed and ease at which companies can be set up witin their respective zones. Work visas can be granted in 5 days and businesses can be set up and fully operational in 4-6 weeks.

Reasons to Relocate to CEC

  • 100% exempt from corporate, capital gains, sales, income tax and import duties
  • 100% foreign ownership permitted
  • Renewable five year work/residence visas granted within five days
  • 4-6 week fast-track set-up of operations
  • Intellectual Property owned offshore and robust laws to protect IP and assets
  • No government reporting requirements
  • Strategic base with easy access to lucrative North and Latin American markets
  • On NYC/EST time zone
  • A safe, stable British Overseas Territory and pro-business government
  • The ease to attract and retain talent

Eligible Market Sectors

CEC in the Cayman Islands will accept companies and divisions of companies active in these key sectors:

  • Internet & Technology
  • Media & Marketing (including digital, media, film and broadcasting)
  • Commodities & Derivatives
  • Biotechnology, Life Sciences and Green Technology
  • Maritime Services and Aviation Services

Ideal Business Jurisdiction

Cayman is an ideal business jurisdiction as it is sophisticated, stable and strategically located only 1 hour from Miami, 3½ hours from New York and Toronto, as well as having frequent flights to London. It is a safe, English speaking British Overseas Territory with a robust legal system based on English common law and has a very pro-business government.

It is ranked the 6th largest global financial centre and the number one hedge fund jurisdiction. The Cayman Islands is OECD white listed, meets the highest anti-money laundering compliance requirements and offers a pro-business regulatory environment (for further details please visit www.caymanfinance.gov.ky).

Why Companies are Relocating to CEC

Companies are relocating to CEC because of the attractive benefits.  Tax Neutrality: Companies are using CEC as part of their global structuring strategy as it provides them with the opportunity to cost-effectively establish a genuine physical presence offshore which can significantly enhance their competitiveness in the global marketplace and enable them to generate a tax-exempt active business income in the Cayman Islands.

One of the world’s leading international financial centers, the jurisdiction is home to preeminent global law firms, top accounting firms and acts as a gateway to North and Latin America markets with direct flights to London multiple times per week. Cayman is the ideal place to develop intellectual property and with the absence of local corporate tax, income tax and capital gains tax, businesses can be far more profitable, when they physically operate from Cayman.

Fast-Track Set-up & Affordable Serviced Packages
A big part of the allure is a fast-track system that features an expedited business licensing regime that can have companies fully established within four to six weeks, including renewable five-year work/residency visas for staff which can be processed in as little as five days. Unlike other island nations such as the Bahamas a minimum capital investment is not required and permits, visas, trade certificates, and turn-key office solutions, are conveniently bundled into affordable serviced packages and delivered by CEC via a streamlined process, which removes bureaucratic red tape.

Custom office designs create inspiring places to work from and turn-key solutions offered by CEC make setting up quick and cost-effective. CEC also provides offshore data-centre facilities through their strategic partner Brac Information Centre.

For more information email CEC at [email protected], call +1 (345) 945 3722 or visit www.caymanenterprisecity.com.

Cayman’s attractive mix of cosmopolitan and island life, the vibrant social scene, picturesque panoramas, world class attractions, Michelin star restaurants, and a close-knit community which consists of more than 135 nationalities makes it easy to attract and retain talent.

A Flourishing Community
CEC has established a thriving community of talented professionals and entrepreneurs through an extensive events programme and via thoughtfully designed community spaces. CEC schedules regular networking events for zone companies and their staff which include – social receptions, breakfast get-togethers, fitness and wellness activities, clubs, crypto currency meetups, beach clean-ups, and specialty events such as drone racing. Office spaces include – shared kitchens, open seating working spaces, and lounges help to promote new partnerships. Even the artwork encourages engaging conversations. It is through this supportive network of like-minded individuals who thrive on innovation and are always seeking new opportunities for growth, that CEC is able to attract significant business and cutting-edge start-ups.

Supportive Environment
Moving to a new country can be daunting. With this in mind, CEC has developed a comprehensive support programme which is offered by way of CEC’s Client Experience team. Unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean, CEC helps new tenants and their employees settle comfortably into life in the Cayman Islands. Even after the application process is done and dusted CEC staff are in constant contact and remain in a supportive role to help SEZ companies grow.

Through annual meetings and regular catch-ups, the CEC Client Experience team act as a strategic connector putting SEZ clients and entrepreneurs in touch with companies in related industries and service providers who are able to help. This concierge-style service includes everything from recruitment support to trade certificate and visa renewals and Cayman’s close-knit community ensures that CEC members are connected with the right professionals in every industry. From doctors to educators to top real-estate agents, highly skilled individuals are attracted to Cayman’s cosmopolitan island lifestyle and close proximity to major airports.

An Eye to the Future
With CEC continuing to attract new businesses on a weekly basis, there is added excitement about the future of Cayman’s special economic zones. In April 2018, a $39 million plan for the first phase of a new 53-acre campus was approved by the Central Planning Authority and in November 2018, CEC broke ground on a USD $500 million master planned development to create 1 million square feet of office space for global knowledge-based business. The George Town location is five minutes from the newly expanded Owen Roberts International Airport and boasts breath-taking views over South Sound. The master planned campus showcases environmental architecture and designs to encourage socialisation and collaboration, unlike anything seen in the Caribbean. The first three buildings of phase one are expected to be completed by the end of Q3 in 2020. The campus development is key to further developing the CEC business hub and fostering a vibrant community of innovative companies and entrepreneurs.

Cayman’s Tech Hub
The attributes that have made the Cayman Islands so enticing to the financial services sector have attracted some of the world’s top technology entrepreneurs and leading Blockchain and FinTech businesses to set up a genuine physical presence in the jurisdiction. Cayman’s robust regulatory environment, impressive legal system, and the abundance of on-island talent, matched with an envy-inducing island lifestyle, has made Cayman the  perfect domicile from which to operate technology-driven business.

In recent months, blockchain development companies have been setting up in Cayman Tech City on a weekly basis. The Island’s business-friendly Government has put in place legislation which enables international companies and start-ups to efficiently and cost-effectively set up a physical presence. Businesses, staffed from anywhere in the world, can be legally operating in their Cayman office within 4-6 weeks and the tech industry has certainly taken notice. As of February 2018, some 50 blockchain companies have established or are in the process of setting up within Cayman Tech City, an award-winning development project by Cayman Enterprise City.

Work/Residency Visas for Staff

CEC enables businesses to immediately re-locate key staff from any country of origin to the Cayman Islands, particularly those that may not be able to get visas for the US or Canada. CEC companies can obtain five year work/residency visas for personnel within five working days.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property can be held by a zone Company and licensed internationally from this tax-neutral jurisdiction.

Many CEC companies avail themselves of the benefit of establishing their IP offshore early, as part of their overall business strategy, in order to maximise the value of this key asset for the whole of the company’s life cycle, avoiding costly migration issues later.

Access to Global Markets

Companies are setting up within CEC and utilizing the zone as a catalyst to increase global growth from a tax-neutral location such as the Cayman Islands.

Set Up Process

CEC in the Cayman Islands offers businesses very flexible packages which include fully serviced offices, use of the business centre facilities, the Trade Certificate to operate the business and the Zone Employment Certificates (work/residency visas) for their staff. Set-up can be expedited within 4-6 weeks.

CEC also provides offshore data-centre facilities through their strategic partner Brac Information Centre. For more information email CEC on [email protected] or call +1 (345) 945 3722 or visit www.caymanenterprisecity.com

Channel Partner Firms

Click below to find a list of the channel partner accounting and law firms working with Cayman Enterprise City – they will be able to assist with all your ‘SEZ’ needs and requests.