Pursuant to the provision of the Immigration Law (as amended) it is possible to obtain a temporary work permit (a "Temporary Permit") for up to six months or a full work permit (a "Full Permit") for one, two or even three years for a non-Caymanian employee, which a Cayman company/employer may wish to employ. Once a Cayman Islands legal entity has been registered with the Registrar of Companies and has obtained all the necessary licenses to carry on business in the Islands, that entity may commence doing business in the Cayman Islands, including the hiring of employees.


Before either a Temporary Permit or a Full Permit application may be submitted for a non-Caymanian employee, an advertisement for the vacant position must usually be placed over a two week period in a local newspaper in an effort to recruit a suitably qualified Caymanian or such other person who may be legally resident in the Islands. Interviews will need to be conducted of all applicants that apply for the position and detailed notes taken of any questions asked by the prospective employer and all answers provided by the applicants. An explanation will need to be included in any permit application as to why neither a Caymanian nor such other person legally resident in the Islands was recruited for the position.


Where there are either no Caymanians or other persons who are legally resident in the Islands who are qualified to fill the vacant post, an application may be made to the Chief Immigration Officer (the "CIO") in the case of a Temporary Permit or the Work Permit Board (the "WPB") in the case of a Full Permit, for an exemption from the requirement to advertise the vacant post. However, such an exemption is only granted where there are clear grounds for doing so.

A case must be made for the waiver of the advertising requirement based on the specialised qualifications, knowledge and expertise of the proposed employee and his or her suitability to the job description. If a permit is only needed for a fixed length of time of, for example, six months or one year, then an employer is usually able to obtain approval not to advertise the vacant post due to the short time the non-Caymanian will be required to live in the Islands. Generally, the shorter the duration of the fixed term employment contract, the more likely it is that the employer will obtain the advertising waiver. However it is difficult to get a waiver where the non-Caymanian employee does not have specialised knowledge and experience, especially when this is readily available in the Islands.


Full details of the vacant post ie a job description and details of the proposed employee's qualifications and experience should be provided to the WPB or the CIO as the case may be whenever an application for a permit is submitted.

The following documentation should also be filed with a permit application:

  1. duly completed Application Form for either a Full Permit or a Temporary Permit (in duplicate);

  2. full face and profile photographs of the applicant;

  3. applicant's completed medical questionnaire;

  4. applicant's blood tests results;

  5. Police Clearance Certificates for the applicant and the dependent spouse;

  6. copy of advertisements in the local newspaper;

  7. current resume and professional qualifications of the applicant;

  8. Marriage Certificate of the applicant and dependent spouse; and

  9. Birth Certificates of the applicant's dependent children.

It should be noted that a medical questionnaire is not required for a Temporary Permit of three month's duration or shorter. English language translations of the above documents should also be included where appropriate.


It presently takes approximately three to four months to have a Full Permit approved and approximately two to three weeks to obtain approval of a Temporary Permit.

Cayman Islands

Sonia Starvis, Partner


David Whittome, Partner


Julie Melia, Partner

British Virgin Islands

Jack Husbands, Partner

Hong Kong

Hugh O'Loughlin, Partner


Rod Palmer, Partner

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.