In 2019, the Cayman Islands Minister of Finance released the ‘Strategic Policy Statement 2020’, outlining the success of recent legislative changes, and announced changes yet to come.
Proposals, some of which have already been implemented, include legislation to:
(1) promote foreign investments and nurture international relations with the new Ministry of International Trade
(2) investment in aviation and maritime affairs
(3) increase funding to Cayman’s National Insurance Company to continue to provide health insurance
(4) to enhance the financial services so that they can keep up to date with any changing international regulations.
There are also proposals designed to support Caymanian workers and make Cayman a more attractive place to live. Proposals include an anti-litter campaign, and enforcement of the litter laws, as well as making the National Community Enhancement Project happen biannually instead of annually to support unemployed Caymanians whilst improving communities. Alongside this, the Government proposed a Fair Employment Opportunities Commission, and has agreed to work with the private sector to ascertain the future needs of Cayman’s businesses, and ensure that Caymanians have training opportunities to build the skills that will enable them to fill the roles provided by these businesses. A proposal for a review of the minimum wage has also been announced following the Occupational Wage Survey.
Among CIG’s recent legislative successes: Trade and Business Law requirements have been reduced, alongside the renewal process being moved online for ease and efficiency of business owners renewing their licences. 4,800 small businesses benefited from the reduced fees for small businesses in 2018, and the revised Trademarks Law resulted in trademark registrations doubling from an annual average of approximately 300 to 600 in a 12 month period.
In an effort to move with the times and follow the ever-evolving global financial sector, CIG has proposed opening a Government Office in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong office will strengthen Cayman’s existing ties with the region, and provide a gateway for other Asian business, including benefiting the tourism and financial services industries.
The Economic Substance Law was implemented in 2019, requiring entities registered in Cayman (Relevant Entities, conducting Relevant Activities) to show that they maintain adequate expenditure, premises and employees in the jurisdiction. The legislation does not affect domestic companies, investment funds, or companies that are tax resident outside of Cayman.
Changes to the Companies Law reduced official procedures and costs for non-profit organisations including charities, churches, and sports and youth clubs. Administration fees have been cut drastically from CI$500 to CI$25, and application fees have been cut by 70%, from CI$1000 to CI$300.
The Cayman Islands Government is working on improving the jurisdiction’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime to address the recommendations detailed in the fourth round of the mutual evaluation report set out by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). A Government task force, chaired by the Premier, has been formed and consists of members from several government departments.
Legislative revisions to Cayman’s AML/CFT regime are already taking place. As of July 2019, Government has passed 14 new laws to address the March 2019 report.