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One-third of TLEPs leave Cayman

work_permits_increasingGRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands – More than 500 people who held Term Limit Exemption Permits have left the Cayman Islands, leaving their employment positions open to Caymanians who are qualified and willing to take those jobs.

In all, there were 1,459 people who held TLEPS.

Term Limit Exemption Permits were introduced by the former UDP government. Most of those on the special permits had been working in the Cayman Islands since 2005 and 2006 and would have been required to leave upon reaching their seven-year term limit.

The UDP government made it so all TLEPS expired in October last year, something the Progressives Government deemed unfair to the country.

“We would have had close to 1,500 people with dependents leaving the country at once; people not buying groceries, not paying rent, not buying gas. It just wasn’t in the best interest of the Cayman Islands,” said Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin.

Of the former TLEP holders, 576 have applied for work permits; 274 have been granted a further work permit; only 54 have applied for Permanent Residency; 8 remain on Island as visitors; and 547 have left the Country.

Those on the exemption permits had to apply for new work permits under the reformed Immigration Law, which was approved by lawmakers in October. Government is working with employers to ensure that Caymanians are hired for jobs vacated by those who held TLEPs through the National Workforce Development Agency.

Those who have applied for Permanent Residency will be judged on a new, stricter set of criteria and not everyone will qualify. Fees have also been increased for those who seek Permanent Residency.

It is Government’s aim to award Permanent Residency only to those people who can have a positive impact on the Country. It is not intended to give Permanent Residency to those that would become a risk or a liability to the Cayman Islands.

The number of people on TLEPs who have applied for PR affirms the belief of the Progressives Government.

“We knew from the outset, and even stated, that not all of those people on these special permits would want to seek Permanent Residency and the numbers show that we were right,” Mr. McLaughlin said.

The second phase of Immigration reforms will be made this year and will focus on the work permit system; in particular the relationships between the granting of work permits and unemployment amongst Caymanians. A committee is slated to make a full report to Cabinet in April.



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