Premier Alden McLaughlin believes that immigration in Cayman has been an important and positive factor that has contributed to the growth of the islands.
The opposition benches expressed sentiments about refusing work permits and stopping the grant of status. The premier said the jurisdiction was the envy of the region because it had not been a victim of ‘insular thinking and prejudice’ and that Cayman owed its success to immigration.
While he agrees that immigration needs to be properly managed ‘it is immigration that has allowed these islands and all of us to develop the way we have’. By saying that nobody should be granted status was the kind of thinking that had set other places in the region, such ass the Bahamas, far behind.
‘Properly managed, immigration provides opportunities for our people,’ the premier stated, adding that this belief was the major difference between his administration and the policy position of the opposition. The premier said he believed that immigration has provided the current economic foundation that Cayman now enjoys.
People go into business to make a profit, not to help people. The government has to have the necessary legislation and the ability to enforce it while creating a culture where businesses understand what when local do well, they also will do well.
The Cayman Islands government expects to collect more than $100 million per year in the next two years from immigration-related fees charged for work permits, permanent residence applications, visitor work visas, Caymanian status fees and other permits, according to budget documents.
Typically, the immigration fees are the third-largest revenue item in the annual budget behind import duties and fees charged to financial services-related businesses.
The collections fall into both coercive revenue and fees for goods and services areas and are expected to make up approximately 14 to 15 percent of central government’s annual earnings in 2018 and 2019.
Work permit revenues alone are budgeted to account for more than $70 million in revenue during 2018 and more than $72 million in 2019 – that is about 10 percent of central government’s total earnings for the year.
The work permit annual earnings represent a significant increase from the government’s 2015/16 budget year when $63 million in work permit fees was collected.by