The Cayman Islands ("Cayman") Government has recently published the Immigration (Transition) (Temporary Work Permits and Business Visitors' Permits) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 (the "2022 Regulations") which govern the issue of temporary work permits ("TWP") and business visitors' permits ("BVP") for employees seeking to work in Cayman.
The 2022 Regulations will come into force on 31 March 2023.
Work Permits in Cayman
Generally speaking, anyone wishing to work in the Cayman Islands must first obtain permission to work, unless they are Caymanian. There are several types of permits available to employers seeking to employ a non-Caymanian including TWPs and BVPs.
The 2022 Regulations introduce the requirement for employers seeking a TWP for an employee to advertise all job opportunities by posting them to the JobsCayman online portal for job seekers for at least 14 days and to consider any Caymanian or resident's applications in order to be able to obtain a TWP ("New Advertising Requirement"). This was previously only a requirement where a full work permit was sought in order to demonstrate that an employer had been unable to find a Caymanian or resident who was available to do the job, as is required by the applicable law.
A TWP may be issued for periods of up to 6 months but may not be extended or renewed except in limited circumstances when it was initially issued for a period of less than 6 months.
The grant of a TWP is discretionary and requires an application to be made in the prescribed form, and accompanied by the appropriate occupation and application fees, a police clearance certificate (less than 6 months old), and for a TWP of longer than 3 months, a Medical Declaration Cover Letter.
The 2022 Regulations add the need for an employer to demonstrate compliance with the New Advertising Requirement, unless:
- The TWP is sought for a period of 30 days or less;
- The sought role falls within limited exceptions for specialist employees including legal counsel acting in court cases, medical practitioners, consultants and sales representatives;
- The employer has been exempted from the 2022 Regulations or has obtained a waiver of the New Advertising Requirement for a particular TWP application.
The 2022 Regulations also require consideration of whether the New Advertising Requirement has been met when considering an application made to renew a TWP granted for 30 days or less within 30 days of its' expiry. The 2022 Regulations also contain provisions regarding content when, in addition to the New Advertising Requirement, an employer or prospective employer wishes to also advertise the job locally or overseas as well as provisions related to the exercise of the discretion to grant the TWP.
A BVP can be issued to businesses in Cayman to allow them to employ persons on a temporary basis who are not legally and ordinarily resident in Cayman.
A BVP is issued for the calendar year and allows the employee to travel to Cayman and work for a period of 14 days or less during each visit. At the time of making the application, the business would indicate the requested number of times that the employee will visit Cayman during that calendar year. BVPs and the requested number of visits cannot be amended once approved and only 1 application per employee can be made in any year. The associated (and non-refundable) per visit fee must be included at the time of submission and range from CI$150.00 to CI$750.00 depending on the job title of the employee.
There is no requirement for an employer to comply with the New Advertising Requirement when submitting an application for a BVP. The existing regulations do allow consideration of whether an employer had been unable to find a Caymanian or resident who was available to do the job, in exercise of the discretion to grant a BVP but in our experience this consideration has not been material and we see no reason for that to change.