The Cayman Islands are a part of the British Overseas Territory in the western region of the Caribbean Sea. The area is often regarded as an offshore financial haven for people of all ages from across the world, especially if they fall under the high-income bracket. These islands are known for their tropical climate, stunning beauty, pleasurable way of life and friendly people. This is probably why The Caymans have become a dream destination for many expats.However, living in a place with no social healthcare and limited on-island hospitals can become expensive, perhaps even risky. Here are a few things to consider if you’re planning to move to Cayman.
Saving on Income & Corporation Tax
The Caymanian Government gets its resources primarily through indirect taxes, work-permit fees and import duties. The residents are not required by the taxation authorities to pay any tax on their income. They are however required to pay the taxes on their worldwide income in their home country. One of the main reasons people decide to move their money to the Cayman Islands is to avoid paying taxes.
There is no restriction on ownership of property by foreigners. Moreover, the procedure to purchase a house, land, or commercial space is quite simple. In fact, purchase of real estate in the Cayman Islands is much like the US but with less bureaucracy. You don’t have to worry about paying property tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax. You can expect fairly good returns due to the high demand of property rentals in this country. It is therefore not surprising to see that the Cayman Islands’ real estate market has soared within the last two decades.
With its tropical climate, the Cayman Islands receive plenty of sunshine all throughout the year. Winter is the best time of the year, as it is the least rainy and the average temperature is approximately 75 Degrees. Certain parts of the island receive strong winds from November to April. Moreover, pollution levels in this region are low.
Tourism is a booming industry in this country and many of the wealthier expats have moved to the Caymans to invest in their own businesses here. Professionals with degrees or experience in law, finance, corporate services and accounts can also find job offers in this region. Some expats from the US, UK and Canada choose to teach once they move; however, the income they receive generally isn’t enough to sustain a luxurious life in this country.
The Government has invested heavily in the educational sector and the Islands have achieved a 90% literacy rate. Education is mandatory and free for all Caymanians between the ages of 4 and 16. There are several public and private primary, secondary and tertiary schools. Due to space constraints, most expat children opt for private education.
Things To Do
People of the Cayman Islands are among the friendliest in the world. You will therefore find it easy to make friends and socialize. You can also choose the pace of life you would like to lead as there are several ways to relax or stay active. Once expats move here, they often spend most of their free time swimming, sailing or exploring the Island during the day. Those who enjoy other sports can join football, cricket, basketball and rugby leagues. In addition to beautiful beaches the country has a fairly good nightlife because of its bars, restaurants, cinemas, shopping areas, and clubs. Many of the expats choose to take up volunteering or conservation work in their spare time.
Though there are several advantages of moving to the Cayman Islands, do keep in mind that getting your residency and work permit paperwork in place is a lengthy and complicated (not to mention expensive) procedure. It is best to hire a professional immigration agent or an attorney who can guide you through the entire process.
The healthcare options must also be thoughtfully considered before you move. The lack of a social healthcare system means that everyone is required by law to have health insurance, as Jeanette Verhoeven from New Resident explains:
“Expats should be aware that Cayman has an American-style healthcare and insurance system, not socialized medicine. We have very good medical capabilities, specialists and diagnostic equipment here which are expanding every year. Ex-pats moving here enjoy good access to care. Securing appointments, even with specialists, is usually fast. Charges are similar to USA costs. Since we an island country, it should be noted that some very serious accident or illness cases may require an air ambulance and an overseas hospital (almost always S. Florida) willing to accept the patient. Thus good health insurance protection plays an important role since most people cannot “self-insure” for these major expenses – even having a baby or ordinary procedures are above most persons’ budgets when insurance is not in place.
There is a minimum level of local health coverage mandated by law that each citizen must have and which if not in place can hamper immigration approvals. A minimum coverage is assured for each legal resident, but may be rated at higher premium costs if there are pre-existing health risk factors, and / or a higher coverage plan may not be offered. Therefore, it is recommended as part of your relocation pre-planning to verify with your employer about the coverage you will have.
A best practice is to have your coverage pre-approved by the insurer prior to moving to assure you are comfortable with the costs and level of protection being offered. Unemployed permanent residents may wish to seek quotes and pre-approvals for their individual plan via a broker such as Aon or directly with the various approved insurers. An expat can also keep an overseas coverage in place to coordinate benefits and use as a “top-off” plan for their local basic plan too”
So what can you do to ensure that you stay healthy while you’re there? Jeanette shares her top three tips:
“Take good care of yourself, avoid risky behaviors, and seek preventative screenings to catch & manage any problems early.”
Have you lived in the Cayman Islands? Share your experiences in the comments.