The Cayman Islands Government is facilitating and encouraging further economic growth and attracting additional international investment through the 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.
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Cayman’s SEZ enable companies to take advantage of the Islands’ jurisdictional benefits, along with a series of appealing concessions granted by the Government. Cayman is an ideal business jurisdiction and is OECD white listed, meeting the highest anti-money laundering compliance requirements.
Organisations located within Cayman’s special economic zones by Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) 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.
They 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 within their respective zones. Work visas can be granted in 5 days and businesses can be set up and fully operational in 4-6 weeks.
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 technology-focused businesses to set up a physical presence in the Cayman Islands. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Work/Residency Visas for Staff
CEC enables businesses to immediately relocated key staff from any country of origin to the Cayman Islands, particularly those that may not be able to get visas for the US and Canada. CEC companies can obtain five year work/residency visas for personnel within five working days.
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
Compaies are setting up within CEC and utilising the zone as a catalyst to increase global growth from a tax-neutral location.
ECE offers businesses very flexible packages which includes 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.
Other Reasons to Set up in Cayman Enterprise City
- 100% exempt from corporate, capital gains, sales and income tax in the Cayman Islands
- 100% foreign ownership permitted
- 100% exemption from import duties
- Renewable five year work/residency visas granted within five days
- Five year residency for employees and their dependents
- 4-6 week fast-track set-up of operations
- Intellectual Property owned offshore
- Appropriate level government reporting
- Strategic base with easy access to lucrative North and Latin American markets
- On NYC/EST time zone
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).
The channel partner accounting and law firms working with Cayman Enterprise City are able to assist with all your ‘SEZ’ needs and requests.