Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Move to the Cayman Islands?

George Town, Cayman Islands
George Town, Cayman Islands
Photo by Roger Wollstadt
Update: I've had to delete and repost this to generate a new URL and kill some spambot which has been making life a bit miserable.

The government of the Cayman Islands has approved new immigration rules. They won't help most readers, but there are a couple of other things about the Caymans that may be interesting.

Basically, you can now live permanently in the Cayman Islands if you invest $750,000 and earn over $150,000 a year (but without the right to work in the Caymans). I think that leaves most of us out.

There's a second residency category created, that of "substantial business holder."
The new certificate requires that the person own, directly or indirectly, a minimum of 10 per cent of the shares in a business that person has established within the Cayman Islands. That business must fall into an “approved category” of business, to be determined by regulations in the law. Such a certificate, if granted would be valid for 25 years and has the potential to be renewed.
Panorama of Seven Mile Beach in Cayman Islands
Photo by Burtonpe
That could be an interesting way of "buying" your way into the Cayman islands. However, after digging around, I finally came to this interesting article from a Cayman Resident's magazine. The actual work permit process isn't terribly different from most other countries, aside from your employer needing to readvertise the position twice a year.

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What I found particularly interesting was this paragraph:
It is unlikely an employer will be granted a work permit unless a) the applicant is professionally qualified or very well experienced in a relevant field, or b) there is literally no interest in the position from the local workforce (which is actually fairly common). This creates something of a “Catch 22” for those expatriates without a professional qualification. The better the position, the higher the level of interest from the local workforce and the less likely it is that an expatriate will be granted a work permit. 
There are a few Cayman expat blogs (those are three links), so go read them for  inspiration and ask yourself why the hell you're still sitting in your home country. Paradise awaits!

Note that Cayman Islands work permits can only be renewed for up to seven years (unless you are a "key worker"), but you have to live in the Caymans eight years to get permanent residency.

Update: I forgot to mention another immigration category regarding property. You do not need a work permit to work in the Cayman Islands if you are:
a person who is the beneficial owner of up to two units of property whose lawful presence in the Islands is to facilitate rental or lease arrangements in respect of those units and whose spouse does not own, operate or have an interest in those units.
There are a few other exemptions, but they are mostly short-term, such a week-long exemption for conference organizers ... (hint, hint to anyone in the Perl community who wants to go swimming).


  1. Gosh, a very up-to-the-minute post, Curtis. Well done, and what a great website! Thanks for linking to my blog, too. (Pretty much all of my postings there are written for local residents - including expats - but it does contain useful information about everyday life.)

    The second paragraph of your article betrays the truth about retiring in Cayman - namely, that our government is not really interested in attracting more foreign residents than we have now. There is a certain amount of tension between the native-born Caymanian community and the expat community as a whole, and the politicians are wary of making it worse. Frankly, I don't know why they even bothered with that Law. It was done more in hope than expectation, I think.

    All the best.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Gordon. Please share the Web site for anyone else who wants to move abroad.

      And drop me a line if you ever want to write a guest post about your experiences moving to the Caymans :)

      My email is listed at the top.

  2. I have already strongly recommended it in the Forum section of the "International Man" site. The Forum is quite an active one, though with far more questions than definitive answers, just yet.

    I've been an expat in Cayman for 34 years, so the experience of moving here is largely forgotten, and probably isn't too relevant any more. Here is a column I just contributed to another blog:

    It covers some of the ground you and your readers may be interested in; I'm sure the blog-owners would be glad if you carried the link.