October 28, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Grand job by Immigration but 40% TLEP’s fail to show

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Colin WilsonwebCayman Islands Department of Immigration did a grand job by setting up a temporary location at Mary Miller Hall in Red Bay to give the (Working under the Operation of the Law) WOL stamps to those holding TLEPs.

Immigration officers were expecting a flood of foreign workers holding Term Limit Exemption Permits (TLEP) to arrive and so for two days they stepped up to the plate and sat waiting for them to arrive.

Without that stamp, the TLEP holder is not legal to work in the Cayman Islands as those extension permits expired at midnight on the 28th of October. The Immigration Department designated the 29th as an extra day to deal with the more than 1,500 TLEPers.

However, probably as many as 600 workers are now here illegally as 40% of TLEP holders failed to show up.

Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) Linda Evans said on CITN’s News27 Tuesday’s (29) bulletin, “So far we’ve only seen less than one hundred, so we are concerned.”

As a warning to all those foreign workers who did not turn up and/or to all employers who wouldn’t allow them time off to attend M/s Evans said her team knows who they are looking for as the records are in hand and know exactly who is on island.

So what is going to happen now?

TLEP holders have been given the chance to have those permits extended for 45 days. During this time their employers can go through the process of applying for a new work permit for them if they cannot find suitably qualified Caymanians willing or able to fill the positions.

Residency requirements are now going to be more stringent and most of those persons who have been here for eight years will not meet them.

I fear the enforcement arm of the Immigration Department will be advertising for more recruits as there is going to be a lot of rounding up of illegal workers to do. Employers will all face prosecution too.

Extraordinary.

Hopefully it will mean all those Caymanians who want to work and can’t find a job will be able to fill those 600 positions that are now vacant.

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