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Finding Employment

Cayman Islands - Finding Employment


Although more than half of the Cayman Island workforce were born elsewhere, the government controls who may arrive for work through work permits. There are a number of groups who are exempt from these regulations. Some are totally exempt, whilst others can only work for a maximum of 10 days.

There are further groups who are exempt from paying work permit fees. These include contracted government employees, Cayman Islands monetary authority employees, certain Cuban people and those working for non-profit cultural, educational or charitable bodies.

If you are the spouse or the unmarried widow/widower of a Caymanian person, you are also exempt from the fees, although this does not apply to single-sex marriages, which are unfortunately not yet recognised in the Cayman Islands.

There are further cases where non-refundable repatriation fees and work permit dependent fees are exempt, along with the work permit fee exemption. Teachers, religious ministers, contracted government employees and Cayman Islands monetary authority employees qualify.

Cayman Islands Temporary Work Permit

A temporary work permit in the Cayman Islands is valid for up to six months. You can only work for the specified employer fulfilling the authorised job role under this permit, which may not be renewed, unless the initial permit was for less than six months. The renewal application must clearly explain why it is being requested and be accompanied by the appropriate fee.

Temporary work permits are issued by the chief immigration officer. Applications should be made before you arrive in the Cayman Islands. If you are already in the Islands, you will need to provide a full written explanation of why you have arrived before obtaining a work permit.

Temporary Work Permit For Seasonal Workers (TWP-S)

This type of permit is specifically available to ensure the tourism, hospitality and water sports industries have adequate staffing levels for the tourist season. You can only work for the named employer and perform the specified job role.

This permit is available for a fixed term of eight months. It cannot be renewed. When the permit expires, you will have to leave the Cayman Islands. No one can make a new application for a work permit for that individual until three months or more have passed since they left.

Annual Work Permit

The annual work permit can be issued by the chief immigration officer, the work permit board or the business staffing plan board. It can be renewed up to a maximum of nine years.

English Test

In order to obtain a work permit, you must be able to speak English to a sufficient level. Therefore, if you are not a national of an English-speaking country, you must take a test which assesses skills in reading, writing and conversing in English.

If you are already present on the Cayman Islands, the test will take place at the department of immigration headquarters. If not, you will take the test at the airport on arrival in the territory. If you fail the test, your entry will be refused, and your work permit revoked.

If any of your documents supporting your work permit application are in another language, you must also submit notarised English translations.

Medical Examination

If you want to work in the Cayman Islands for at least three months, you must undertake a medical examination, which will be repeated every three years. The check includes a health questionnaire, chest x-rays and blood tests. Further tests may be carried out depending on your risk factors, such as specific diseases prevalent in a number of countries. The signed and certified reports must be submitted as part of the work permit application procedure.

Police Certificates

Before applying for a work permit or renewal, you must obtain a police certificate from your country of current or last residence. This is required for any work permit of any length, unless you have submitted another certificate within the past six months.

Interpreting Job Advertisements

If an employer wants to obtain a potential employee’s work permit or renewal, they must show that they advertised the role locally and that no suitable applicants came forward. This is worth bearing in mind when looking at the advertised job vacancies. Many of the jobs will demand skills, qualifications and experience in the expectation that if they cannot be found locally, there will be plenty of overseas applicants. Sometimes the employer already has someone lined up from abroad for the job. It could be that the existing job holder is renewing their work permit. As a result, if you don’t have the skills, qualifications and experience for an advertised role, your work permit application is unlikely to be successful.

The national workforce development agency has a database of vacancies. This can only be used by Caymanian people, permanent residents and those already working in the Cayman Islands under a valid work permit.

Which Professions Are In Demand In The Cayman Islands?

The Cayman Islands is one of the top financial centres in the world. As a result, those with experience and qualifications in banking, accountancy and economics are highly sought after. Lawyers are also needed to provide advice, preparation and management of the legal side of finance both for financial institutions and individual overseas investors.

Similarly, the finance industry needs constant support for Information Technology. Everything from IT support for office workers to bank system security keeps the business world operating.

Tourism is big business in the Cayman Islands, with visitors from the United States forming a large part of the tourism market. As a result, hospitality businesses of all kinds require an influx of enthusiastic seasonal workers with high standards of customer care. September and October are popular recruiting times for hotels, restaurants, water sports businesses and luxury spas, ready for the start of the tourist season in December.

The Cayman Islands operates a number of modern hospital and medical treatment facilities, both in the public and private sector. Like most other countries in the world, there is always a demand for a wide range of qualified, skilled and experienced medical staff.

Highly skilled construction workers are also in demand. This is not to be confused with low skill maintenance work under supervision. Instead, you will need to provide evidence of your training and expertise.

Plumbers and electricians cannot work in the Cayman Islands unless they have been licensed to do so. You cannot become licensed without holding appropriate qualifications to show you can undertake this work safely and to a high standard.

Government roles, including teaching jobs, are normally filled by local workers. However, there are some specialised roles which require high level skills and qualifications, and for which overseas applicants may be suitable.


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