The Immigration (Amendment) Law 2012 has now come into force,
having been made effective on 5 June 2012. This new Law heralds
major changes to the immigration system in the Cayman Islands,
since it creates new categories of permissions for investors who
wish to live in the Islands as well as business visitors.
Other changes that the amendment has introduced include removal
of the previous requirement for persons wishing to apply for the
Right to be Caymanian by virtue of being the child or grandchild of
a Caymanian born in the Islands to be legally and ordinarily
resident in the Cayman Islands on the date of application. It also
introduces a welcome change to the composition of the Immigration
Appeals Tribunal. It is anticipated that this will assist greatly
in clearing the current backlog of pending appeals as well as
substantially reducing the normal time period for processing
appeals going forward.
Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of
One of the new categories created is the right to permanently
reside for persons of Independent Means. Unlike the traditional
25-year certificate for such persons, the new Certificate of
Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means can be amended
to allow the holder to work in the Cayman Islands and can enable
the holder to eventually apply for the Right to be Caymanian.
The effect will be to allow a limited number of persons who meet
the income and investment requirements to gain permanent residence
with the right to work without needing to establish eight years of
legal and ordinary residence.
In order to qualify for the certificate, applicants will be
required to have invested a prescribed sum in developed real estate
and possess sufficient financial resources to maintain himself and
his dependents. An applicant will also need to demonstrate that he
and his dependants are in good physical health and of good
character. Details of specific requirements will only be known once
the accompanying regulations have been published. Latest
indications are that the Regulations are being drafted and will
come into effect in the upcoming months. The number of these types
of certificates will be restricted to an annual quota to be set by
the Governor. However, to date, no annual quota has been
Residency Certificate (Substantial Business
The amendment also creates the Residency Certificate
(Substantial Business Presence). It is now available to persons who
either own a ten per cent share in an approved category of business
or will be employed in a senior management capacity within such a
business. In each case, the business must have a substantial
presence in the Cayman Islands.
An Approval-in-Principle Certificate, valid for six months and
renewable at the discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer, is
also available to individuals who have not yet met either of the
requirements but who nevertheless propose to meet them within the
six-month validity period. Holders of either the Approval-in-
Principle Certificate or the Residency Certificate (Substantial
Business Presence) are entitled to reside in the Cayman Islands and
work in the business in which they are an owner or are employed in
a senior management capacity.
Visitors Work Visa
Persons who are employed outside the Islands, and who wish to
visit for up to five calendar days at a time in order to engage in
commercial activity with a locally licensed entity or person (a
â€Ssponsorâ€), can now apply on
arrival for the grant of a visitor's work visa.
However, the Visa is not available to persons who are employed
in a professional capacity or who are otherwise not entitled to a
work permit by virtue of having reached their term limit.
The Visitors Work Visa also does not exempt persons from the
requirement to obtain an entry visa if they possess a passport from
a country which would otherwise require a visitor's visa to
travel to the Cayman Islands. A business visitor will not be
permitted to hold more than one Visitors Work Visa in relation to
the same sponsor or sponsors within the same calendar month.
These amendments represent a significant development in the
Immigration law, by creating opportunities for larger number of
persons to not only live and work in the Cayman Islands, but to
eventually become Caymanian. Of these, the Certificate of Permanent
Residence for Persons of Independent Means will potentially create
the most impact. Accompanying regulations will set out the specific
requirements to be met by applicants, potentially restricting the
number of persons who are eligible. Until such regulations are
eventually passed however, it is difficult to say with any degree
of certainty what the full repercussions of these changes will
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Immigration Act (Chapter 217 of the Laws of Malta) is the legal instrument which regulates the inward movement of foreigners into the Island.
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