The Cayman Islands Immigration Department will start charging a slate of new fees today as part of government revenue raising efforts within the current 2012/13 budget.
The largest set of charges involved in the fee increases are work permit fees for non-Caymanians announced by Premier McKeeva Bush earlier in the year.
Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans confirmed the charges included the work permit fee increases and other charges approved earlier by the Legislative Assembly.
The work permit fee increases are budgeted to bring in some $9.4 million more in revenues than they did during the previous budget year. The Cayman Islands raised about $48 million in revenues (unaudited figure) from work permits in the 2011/12 year, compared to an anticipated $57.4 million in the current 2012/13 fiscal year.
In August, Premier Bush said that work permit fees of certain categories of jobs would increase.
Those work permit fees currently costing between $1,000 and $2,999 will see a 5 per cent increase; work permit fees from $3,000 to $3,999 will increase by 10 per cent; fees between $4,000 and $4,999 will go up by 15 per cent; fees from $5,000 to $5,999 will increase by 20 per cent; fees of $6,000 to $7,499 will increase by 25 per cent; fees of $7,500 to $14,999 will go up by 30 per cent; fees from $15,000 to $24,000 will go up by 35 per cent.
Mr. Bush said these increases in the work permit fees would affect jobs such as real estate sales agents and brokers, financial controllers, accountants, managing directors and chief executive officers. “Those are the groups that will bear the burden of the work permit fees,” he said.
For instance, a company employing a non-Caymanian certified public accountant in the local health services field previously was charged $10,500 per year for that person’s work permit. Those costs have now gone to $13,650 per year.
Under “legal activities”, a managing director, chief executive, general manager, vice president or president for which a professional qualification is required had been paying $22,500 per year a permit. Now that cost has gone to $30,375 per year.
A paralegal’s work permit has gone from $8,000 per year to $10,400 per year, under the legal activities category.
For the full list of work permit fees and other immigration-related charges, please click here.
Other new charges
The Immigration (Amendment)(No. 5) Bill, 2011 – approved by the legislature last year – also creates a separate immigration category for foreigners who have maintained a “substantial business presence” in the Cayman Islands and for visiting business people. The fees for those have now been set.
Premier Bush has said he believed the proposal would make it easier for travelling business people to take care of their affairs in Cayman and encourage investment within the territory.
The bill creates a new category for individuals of independent means that allows them to remain in Cayman for the rest of their lives provided they meet all investment and earnings requirements under the law. Previous residency certificates for those with independent means expired after 25 years.
The new Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means would be granted without the right to work, unless the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board makes a special exception. Anyone granted the certificate would require an annual income of at least $150,000 and have invested at least $750,000 in Cayman. The person and their spouse would also have to prove a clean criminal record and good health.
The governor would establish a quota for this particular permanent residence category. The quota number would have to be made public. Cabinet has not set a fee for this application yet.
A second residency certificate created by the amendment bill is a grant for “substantial business presence” similar to what exists for direct investment incentives in the Immigration Law.
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. The certificate holder would still have to adhere to all other trade and business licensing requirements.
The application fee for this category will be $1,000. The issue fee once it’s received is $5,000.
A third category makes provision for who is coming to the Islands for a “commercial activity” for a short period of time; not longer than five days.
The Visitor’s Work Visa may be granted to anyone who would normally be eligible for a regular work permit in Cayman. The visa applies to anyone travelling here “for the purpose of engaging in commercial activity with one or more persons or entities licensed to trade in the Islands” and who would otherwise require a full work permit to carry on such business. A flat fee of $100 will be charged for those visas.*
The only occupations that are excluded from consideration for the visitors work visa are professional job categories already defined under the Immigration Law.
Editor's note: Story corrected to reflect correct fees and time limits for the Visitor's Work Visa. Also edited to delete the fee for Permanent Residency certificates for persons of independent means.