September 26, 2020

Changes to Cayman Islands Permanent Residence points system

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Caymanislands-residencypermitFollowing the publication of amendments to the Permanent Residence Points System contained in the Immigration (Amendment) Regulations, 2015 on Friday 16 January the Department of Immigration will shortly begin processing applications for permanent residence that were received since the previous version of the Points System came into effect in October 2013. Those applications have remained pending since then due to issues relating to the designation of priority occupations by Cabinet.

The amendments to the Points System make it clear that Cabinet is not required by law to publish a list of priority occupations but it may do so at its discretion. This removes the obstacle to the processing of applications received since October 2013. Changes have also been made to the way in which points are awarded where local investments in property or businesses are held jointly between spouses and points are now to be awarded for volunteering for non-profit, charitable or voluntary organisations.

The new Points System will be used when assessing all applications for permanent residence that were submitted since 25 October 2013 and applicants can now expect to be contacted by the Department of Immigration to schedule an appointment to sit the history/culture test. Applicants who wish to provide any additional information that they consider may benefit them in light of the new provisions are invited to do so when attending the Department to take the test. Alternatively, applicants may submit additional information directly to the Caymanian Status & Permanent Residency Secretariat located in Cayman Center on Airport Road. All submissions must be received no later than Friday 13 February.
Local Investments

The formula for calculating the points to be awarded for investments has been simplified. An applicant’s total investment in property or local business is now divided by 40% of their total income for the last five years and that figure is multiplied by thirty to arrive at the number of points to be awarded.

In a change to the previous Points System points will now be awarded for the full value of an investment even where the investment is owned jointly between spouses. Previously, only the percentage of the investment held by the applicant was taken into account. The spouse’s income will also be taken into account when calculating the points to be awarded.

But it has also become a requirement that where spouses apply individually for permanent residence and they both receive points based on the full investment amount (rather than the percentage held in their name) and permanent residence is granted, each spouse will be required to maintain the full value of the investment.

The new Points System also makes it easier for an applicant to provide evidence of their income for the purpose of the calculation used in awarding points for local investments. Income can now be either 90% of documented income over the previous 12 months or 100% of documented income over the previous five years. This change recognises that an applicant may have difficulty providing evidence of their income going back for a full period of five years, perhaps because they may have changed employer during this period. What constitutes “Income” has now been clarified as including salary, commission, gratuities, investment income and any other form of demonstrated income to the extent that proof of such income can be shown.

To receive points for local investments there remains a minimum investment amount of CI$50,000. No points will be awarded for investments of less than this amount. But where the investment exceeds CI$50,000, points will be awarded for the full value, i.e. including the first CI$50,000. Maximum points will, as before, be awarded automatically where the total investment exceeds CI$500,000.

Financial Stability
Applicants will continue to receive points based on evidence of cash and savings held locally. In the previous version of the Points System points were awarded as a percentage of aggregate salary/income for the last five years. This period has now been reduced to one year. It has now also been clarified that gross annual income from employment includes all employment related monetary income earned annually by the applicant and includes basic salary, bonus, commission, allowances etc. to the extent that documentary evidence can be produced.

Voluntary Service

The previous Points System did not allow for an applicant to receive credit for volunteering for non-profit charitable organisations. It was not intended to exclude this type of valuable voluntary involvement in the community and this has been addressed in the new Points System. Applicants will now receive 1.5 points for each year that they have provided a minimum of 35 hours service annually volunteering for non-profit, charitable or voluntary organisations.

The full Permanent Residence Points System, contained in the Immigration (Amendment) Regulations, 2015 and an explanatory document can be obtained on the Department of Immigration’s website. (www.immigration.gov.ky).
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