Recently arrived to the Cayman Islands? What category of new arrival do you fall under? Read on to learn more!
Every new arrival to the Cayman Islands falls under one of two categories: those with Cayman connections (e.g. those married to a Caymanian) and those without Cayman connections (e.g. not married or related to a Caymanian). Here we explain these two categories in-depth.
If you are married to a Caymanian you can become legally resident (and obtain the right to work) through the successful application of a Residency and Employment Rights Certificate for the spouse of a Caymanian. You cannot apply for a Temporary or Full Work Permit.
Similarly, if you are married to a person who possesses Permanent Residence with the Right to Work in the Cayman Islands, the work permit regime is generally inappropriate and instead, such a person should apply for a Residency and Employment Rights Certificate as the Spouse of a Permanent Resident.
Residency & Employment Rights Certificate for the Spouse of a Caymanian
The spouse of a Caymanian should apply to the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board for a Residency and Employment Rights Certificate, which allows them to remain and work in the Cayman Islands without the need to possess a work permit for seven years. If they are in possession of a work permit before they are married, then the work permit remains valid for its duration. Provided an application for a Residency and Employment Rights Certificate as the Spouse of a Caymanian is made before the expiry of the work permit, the right to live and work in the Cayman Islands continues whilst the application for a Residency and Employment Rights Certificate as the spouse of a Caymanian is pending.
If the Residency and Employment Rights Certificate is approved, then after seven years the holder will have to apply for it to be renewed or, following the 7th anniversary of the wedding, apply for the Right to be Caymanian. There is a non-refundable application filing fee of CI$300 and, when approved, there is an additional government fee of CI$400.
*Please note that the application process is significantly burdensome and many documents are required to be submitted, including an affidavit to the effect that your marriage is not one of convenience.
If you are looking to move to the Cayman Islands and are neither Caymanian, nor married to a Caymanian, here is how you can be legally resident:
1) Work Permits
a) Full Work Permit (FWP through a Gainful Occupation Licence)
b) Temporary Work Permit (TWP)
2) A Special Economic Zone Certificate (SEZ)
3) Permanent Residency (PR)
a) Permanent Residency with the Right to Work (after 9 years of working in Cayman)
b) Residency for Persons of Independent Means
c) Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means
d) Certificate of Direct Investment
e) Residency Certificate (Substantial Business Presence)
4) Student Visas
It is worth noting that an overriding principle of Cayman Islands immigration legislation is that employment and career opportunities are offered to Caymanians before any other nationality. Caymanians are given preference over similarly qualified expatriates and employers must generally take steps to provide training opportunities to Caymanians who have the potential to fill a particular position. With the reality that Caymanians have already become a minority in their own Islands, efforts are made to ensure that a balance of other nationalities exists so that no other nationality is culturally or numerically dominant.
If a Caymanian cannot be found for the position, then preference in employment opportunities is required to be given first to the holders of Residency and Employment Rights Certificates who are married to Caymanians, next to Permanent Residents with the Right to Work and finally, to other persons who are already legally and ordinarily resident in these Islands (including existing work permit holders and their approved dependants). Only if these categories of persons are unavailable for a position will (as a general rule), a permit be granted to a person who is from overseas.