In a move aimed at facilitating easier entry and stay of short-term business travelers as well as long-term visitors, the Cabinet of Cayman Islands approved changes to the Immigration Regulations. Short-term business travelers have been exempted from the requirement of obtaining a work permit as long as their stay does not exceed ten working days. Long-term visitors who own property in the Islands have been exempted from the requirement checking in with the Immigration Department provided their stay does not exceed six months.
The change related to short-term travelers will allow businesspersons and entrepreneurs to avoid having to apply for a one-year work permit that permits entry for up to four times in a period of twelve months with permission to reside for up to two weeks at a time. Instead of having to juggle their entry and stay to meet the “eight weeks in a year” limit, business travelers can enter and stay in the country without any restrictions provided they leave within ten working days.
The change related to long-term visitors will allow those with vacation homes in the Cayman Islands to visit and reside in the country without having to apply for and renew the Visitors Permit that is valid for a period of 30 days. The renewal of this permit costs $100 for each time the visitor stays in the Islands.
This exemption related to the Visitors Permit will facilitate easier entry and stay for immigrant investors, retirees, and other individuals who are entitled to reside in the Islands without the right to work in the country. Under the amended regulations, the Immigration Officer is permitted to grant visa valid for six months provided the visitor owns a home in the Islands, intends to stay in the home during the visit, and is financially capable of supporting self and family throughout the stay or vacation in the Cayman Islands.
The amendments have been welcomed by tourism and infrastructure development companies in the Islands. The right to stay in the Islands for ten days without having to apply for a work permit will make it easier for visitors to conduct meetings with local companies and enterprises without any hassles.
Firms offering holiday homes have welcomed the move and have indicated that retired individuals or immigrant investors who simply wish to holiday in the Islands for a few months in a year will find it easier to enjoy the benefits granted by their long-term residence permits. Firms expect the change to lead to increase in demand for holiday homes and vacation properties in the Islands. The move is also expected to lead to interest amongst immigrant investors seeking to invest money in property that will double up as a vacation home when needed.
Another change that is expected to be announced soon is a VIP program that allows business visitors to pay a premium for fast-tracking of all formalities related to immigration and customs. The authorities have not announced further details of the proposed pilot program.