On 16 October 2020 the Cayman Islands (“Cayman”) introduced a new immigration category called the Global Citizen Certificate (“Certificate”). Under the Immigration (Transition) (Global Citizen Exemption) Regulations, 2020 (“Regulations”), individuals who are employed outside the Cayman Islands (“Cayman”), who meet good character requirements and who earn US$100,000 or more a year from work outside Cayman, may apply to live in Cayman and work remotely for up to two years. Individuals may apply on their own behalf and, subject to income, may apply to bring spouses, civil partners and/or dependent children.
Cayman has been able to manage and control its citizen’s exposure to the current Covid-19 pandemic by restricting immigration and tourism and requiring all new arrivals to quarantine for 14 days. As a result, there are very few restrictions on daily life for residents of Cayman. Cayman has also demonstrated it has the modern infrastructure needed to support remote working. As a result it is now offering those who can show they can support and maintain themselves and their families the opportunity, for a fee, to reside in and work remotely from Cayman, whilst enjoying a lifestyle free of Covid-19 restrictions.
What are the benefits?
On successful application, a Certificate holder (a “Global Citizen”) may enter (exit and re-enter) Cayman and work from there, remotely, for up to 24 months. Where the applicant is already in Cayman their two-year period starts when the Certificate is granted and, where the applicant is outside Cayman, the period starts when they first arrive. For the purposes of Cayman legislation, while the Global Citizen is in Cayman, the Certificate gives them legal and ordinary residence in Cayman.
What are the income requirements for families?
As well as the US$100,000 minimum income requirement for individuals, where an applicant wishes to bring their spouse or civil partner to live in Cayman the minimum income requirement increases to US$150,000. Where an individual or couple also wish to bring a dependent child or children the minimum income requirement increases to US$180,000. Applicants will have to provide information and documents to support their application, including evidence that their income is generated outside Cayman, and pay a fee. If a dependent wishes to work remotely from Cayman, then they need to apply for a Certificate in their own name.
What are the fees?
The annual fee for a Global Citizen Certificate for an applicant and one dependant CI$1,230 (US$1,500) and a fee of CI$420 (US$512) for each dependent thereafter. The first year’s fees are payable on application and the second year’s fees at the end of the first year.
What are the character requirements?
The Director of The Workforce, Opportunities and Residence Cayman Department (“WORC”) needs to be satisfied that the applicant and their dependents are of good character, not prohibited immigrants, and that the applicant has paid the relevant fee and satisfied the requirements of the Regulations.
Are there any other requirements?
A Global Citizen must reside in property owned or rented in Cayman and must be physically present in Cayman for a minimum period of ninety days per year (in aggregate) and must not offer or provide goods or services to any Cayman entity or individual. The applicant must have health insurance which the Director of WORC considers is adequate for the applicant and any dependents. The applicant must also comply with any other terms and conditions which the Director of WORC may issue. The Director of WORC also has the right to revoke the Certificate for a variety of reasons, for example for subversive activity, a relevant conviction in Cayman or overseas, the applicant has given false information on a material fact or their income drops below the required minimum.
What happens if an applicant loses their job?
If a Global Citizen loses their job then their Certificate automatically expires. They need to advise the Director of WORC as soon as reasonably possible, in any event no later than 30 days after termination.
Is there a deadline?
At present the deadline is 31 October 2021, bearing in mind the Regulations currently expire on 30 November 2023. The Regulations allow for extension of the deadline if the Regulations are extended.
If you would like more information or legal advice on making an application for a Global Citizen Certificate or any matters concerning residency and citizenship in the Cayman Islands, please contact Andrew Miller or Daniel Altneu.
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