February 25, 2021

Cayman: CBC Statement on Exemption Granted to Spouse of Asylum-Recipient

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Further to the previous Media Release dated 4thFebruary, the Ministry of Employment and Border Control (MEBC) and the Customs & Border Control Service (CBC) recognise the legislative limitation within the Customs & Border Control Act, 2018, and its inconsistency with the principle of family unity under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.

As such, in December 2020, Cabinet granted approval to the Ministry of Employment and Border Control to amend the Customs and Border Control Act, 2018.

The Ministry is working with the Legislative Drafting Department to prepare an appropriate Bill for Cabinet’s consideration.

In the absence of legislative amendments, a viable  option to allow a spouse of an asylum-recipient to legally remain and work in the Islands, is for Cabinet to exercise its powers in accordance with section 53(1)(b) of the Immigration (Transition) Act, 2018, and grant an exemption to allow that person to lawfully take up gainful employment.

Cabinet, at a recent meeting, exercised those powers in respect of the spouse of a particular asylum-recipient, thereby providing an opportunity for gainful employment within specified occupations for a period of two years. That decision was subsequently communicated to the relevant parties earlier this week by CBC.

Workforce Opportunities & Residency Cayman (WORC) will manage employment-related services, while CBC will continue to facilitate additional temporary support services.

In respect of persons seeking asylum as well as those who have received asylum, CBC will continue to monitor individual circumstances and provide appropriate support in tandem with other agencies as necessary. 

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