How To Find A Job In The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands – a beautiful Caribbean tax haven – has an obvious appeal for expats seeking employment. But how easy is it to find work there? The good news is that there are jobs available, particularly if you have a background in finance, specifically the investment and insurance sectors.

What Are The Legal Requirements For Foreign Employees?

You will need a work permit in order to work legally in the Cayman Islands, either a temporary work permit or a work permit grant / Gainful Occupation Licence (GOL). The maximum length of time you can remain in the islands on an extended annual work permit is nine years.

Temporary work permits are issued for 180 days and cannot be renewed. For this, you will need to submit:

• an application form – the employer and employee sections must be completed
• one recent full-face photograph and one profile passport-size photograph
• an original police clearance certificate issued by a police station in your last country of residence, stamped and signed (valid for a six-month period)
• a full medical examination with chest x-rays and blood tests for HIV and VDRL (valid for a six-month period)
• the prescribed fees, including work permit and administrative fees

For a work permit grant/ GOL, valid for up to three years and renewable, you will need to submit:

• an application form – Part 1, Employee and Part 2, Employer sections must be completed
• one recent full-face photograph and one profile passport-size photograph
• an original police clearance certificate issued by a police station in your last country of residence, stamped and signed (valid for a six-month period)
• a full medical examination with chest x-rays and blood tests for HIV and VDRL (valid for a six-month period)
an accommodation form stating the details of where you will be living
• the prescribed fees, including work permit fee and filing fee
• job advertisements, provided by your employer – these must be submitted to ensure that there are no suitable Caymanians, spouses of Caymanians or Status Holders suitable for the role.

These advertisements must appear in the local newspaper for two consecutive weeks to allow any prospective applicants the opportunity to apply for the position.

Cayman citizens must be prioritised over foreign personnel for work where possible.
Are Any Skills In Particular Demand?

Some Cayman organisations, such as the utility companies, prefer local hire. Please also note the criteria for a working visa, as above, which states that Cayman citizens must be prioritised over foreign personnel where possible.

As mentioned, experience and qualifications in finance will stand you in good stead, but there are other opportunities too. For example, construction companies report difficulties in finding local hire at management level, so often seek workers from abroad to fill these positions.

The hospitality industry, which usually starts hiring in autumn, is also an option, as is work within the medical sector, as medical professionals are often in high demand. If you are a qualified worker in IT, Cayman Enterprise City is expanding, so you may find work there, particularly in the fintech sector, such as Blockchain.

What Are Typical Working Hours and Annual Holiday Entitlement?

The Cayman Islands has a nine-hour day, five days a week, which adds up to a 45-hour working week. On Grand Cayman, opening hours are typically 8:30am to 5:00pm, but this may vary slightly on the smaller islands.

You will be entitled to a minimum of two weeks’ annual holiday if you have worked for your employer for less than four years, increasing to a minimum of four weeks after you have completed 10 years of employment.

If you have worked for five years, you will be entitled to receive a five-year cash grant.

If you become pregnant, you will be entitled to 12 weeks’ maternity leave in any 12-month period. Employers are legally required to offer 20 working days leave on full pay, 20 working days leave on half-pay and 20 working days leave on no pay.

The gross national minimum basic wage is KYD$6.00 (US$7.21) per hour for most employees, and the gross hourly minimum wage rate for service employees, working for an employer that has a registered gratuities scheme, is KYD$4.50 (US$5.40). There are also special calculations for live-in household domestics and employees who work on a commission basis.

For most employees in the Cayman Islands, the gross national minimum basic wage is KYD$6.00 (US$7.21) per hour.
Can My Spouse Work?

Your spouse is not automatically entitled to reside in the Cayman Islands, even if you hold a valid permit. They must be named as a dependent on your permit, and a separate application must be filed. Dependents can also be added to a temporary work permit.

Are Speculative Applications To Companies Common?

You can make speculative applications to companies, especially if you are working in sectors such as financial services.

What Is The Best Method Of Finding A Job?

To those looking for work, expats recommend going through recruitment agencies that cover the Cayman Islands. These agencies will be able to liaise with employers, who are primarily responsible for obtaining your work permit.

What Is The Recommended Format For CVs/Resumes And Covering Letters?

A standard CV/resume is acceptable. English is the official language of the Cayman Islands, so you will not need to have anything translated, unless you are applying from a non-English speaking nation, in which case you will need to have your documentation translated and notarised.

Which Questions Are Illegal / Cannot Be Asked In An Interview?

The Constitution of the Cayman Islands guarantees equality and non-discrimination. Employment laws state that no discrimination is allowed on the basis of race, colour, creed, sex, pregnancy or any reason connected with pregnancy, age, mental or physical disability (provided their ability to perform the job is not impaired), political belief or the exercise of any rights.

However, LGBT organisations have reported that the government has consistently expressed discriminatory attitudes towards members of LGBT groups.

Qualifications And Training

The Cayman Authorities recognise most Commonwealth and international accounting designations.

Medical professionals fully registered in Australia, Canada, Jamaica, the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and the US may be eligible to practice in the Cayman Islands once they have registered with the appropriate council.

It is worth getting any qualifications notarised to be on the safe side, but you will not have to have any qualifications translated if they are already in English.

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