Cayman Islands: Bermuda Press Makes Hay Quoting Error-Riddled Bloomberg Article

Last Updated: 24 June 2013

Article by Steve McIntosh, CEO, CML Recruitment

CML is a Cayman Islands recruitment firm specialising in executive, professional and administrative jobs in the Financial Services, Legal and IT sectors.  For more information, visit their website at www.cmlor.com.  CEO Steve McIntosh is a chartered accountant (ICAEW) and HR professional (GPHR) with 12 years' experience in offshore financial services and recruitment.  Find him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/cmlstevemcintosh.

Cayman's mid-Atlantic competitor has been making hay from a Bloomberg article about the as-yet-unknown fate of 2,000 T-LEP permit-holders.

Unfortunately both Bloomberg and the Gazette seem to have grasped the wrong end of the stick on several points.  Let's look at them before the nonsense traverses the echo chamber again.

Here's a point by point (Gazette quotes in bold italics):

"Cayman's new Premier Alden McLaughlin has made it "quite clear" to his immigration department that he wants to find a way to keep the expatriates while reducing a growing unemployment situation for Caymanians, according to Eric Bush, the nation's chief immigration officer, who Bloomberg interviewed for the story."

This would have been the most accurate statement in the entire article, had it not wrongly identified Eric Bush at the "chief immigration officer".  Mr. Bush is the Chief Officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs (previously the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs).  Linda Evans is the Chief Immigration Officer.

"Mr McLaughlin's ruling party has also said they will now require foreigners to work on the island for 10 years before they can apply for citizenship."

They have?  When?  (In any case, foreign workers have been able to apply for citizenship – or naturalization – after ten years since the 2004 Immigration Law overhaul).

"Currently there is a seven-year requirement."

No there isn't.

"Bloomberg also reported that the government plans to scrap a provision that enables companies to pick "key" workers who could indefinitely extend their stay for two-year increments."

This makes it sound like an adverse development for foreign workers.  Yes, they will likely scrap the "key employee" provision allowing workers so designated to remain a further two years, but that wouldn't mean everyone gets sent home early, it would mean EVERYONE would get to stay an extra two years.  No bad thing.

And key workers could not "indefinitely extend their stay in two year increments" or any other increment; they could indefinitely extend their stay by applying for permanent residence, which they were eligible to do after eight years.

"... a two-year permit for a foreign auditor can cost $16,500...."

Wrong, it's worse than that.  A ONE year permit costs US$16,646.

"...while large firms may pay more than $21,000h3 for a visa for financial controllers."

Also worse than that, small firms pay this too!

"In Cayman with unemployment among local citizens exceeding ten percent, the offshore financial centre is reining in the number of staff that funds, accounting firms, construction companies and hotels hire from abroad."

No they aren't.  There has been no official announcement to that effect and no implication to that effect in the statements of officials quoted in the article.

" 'Limits on expatriates, who make up half the island's 39,000 workforce, will ensure more jobs for Caymanians,' reported Bloomberg, quoting Mr Bush."

Actually, if you read the original Bloomberg piece, this was not a direct quote from Mr. Bush.  It was a paraphrasing, indicated by the lack of quotation marks.  Are there limits on the hiring of expats?  Yes, naturally, in instances where suitably qualified Caymanians apply.  But the article, with some creative attribution on the part of the Gazette, makes it sound like some hard limit has been put on the number of expats – categorically not the case.

"While the Cayman Islands tightens conditions for expatriates, Bermuda has loosened them, ending a limit on how long foreigners can work there as it seeks to lure funds and reinsurance companies."

This is absolute bunk.  There is no evidence cited (and none that I'm aware of, and I watch these things closely!) of tightening in Cayman Islands immigration.  In fact, the T-LEP amounted to clemency for those threatened with rollover, so the policy has for all intents and purposes been shelved.  The only loosening in Bermuda has been the abolition of the same rollover policy (some 18 months after Cayman).  The only reason the new Bermuda government was able to act more decisively is that Bermuda's policy is just that – a policy, whereas in Cayman the policy is enshrined in law.  Bermuda's policy can be nixed with the stroke of a pen, whereas Cayman's requires legislative drafting, cabinet approval and a vote in the legislative assembly.

And in any case, Cayman's starting point was considerably more generous to expatriates, allowing them to apply for permanent residence after nine years, citizenship after ten and full Caymanian status after fifteen.  Expat counterparts in Bermuda enjoyed no such progressive rights.

Most egregious of all, both the Royal Gazette and Bloomberg failed to point out that nobody in the financial industry expects for one minute that the government will fail to act to remedy the situation before the first cohort would be affected in October.

Bloomberg + Gazette = Fail.

http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20130618/BUSINESS02/706189996

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-14/paradise-lost-facing-expats-in-cayman-work-visa-crackdown.html

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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