New laws are now in effect for work permit holders and permanent residents that stipulate they must be doubly vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to get or renew a work permit or residency certificate. Approved vaccines are AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Border Control and Labour, Chris Saunders, said the legislation aimed to offer as much protection as possible to the diverse Cayman Islands community, while COVID-19 global pandemic continued.
“The revised legislation endeavours to make the new requirements as reasonable and humane as possible. We have removed the mandate for persons with existing close, long term personal connections to the Islands. In addition, we have built in grace periods where appropriate, and allowed medical exemptions where called for. We believe these changes have helped to improve what is otherwise a necessary piece of legislation,” Mr Saunders said.
As of 15th October, applicants and their accompanying dependants must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of the Covid-19 vaccinations to WORC and CBC respectively when applying for or renewing the below categories of residence or employment facilities.
Under the new WORC – Immigration (Transition)(Amendment) Act, 2021, people affected include the following:
• Persons applying for work permit grants (WP) or renewing work permits, this includes temporary work permits (TWP) new applications and renewals;
• Amendments to a work permit to add dependents;
• Certificate for Specialist Caregivers;
• Permanent Residence; (applicants must have been legally and ordinarily resident in the Islands for at least eight years);
• Residence certificates for persons of independent means;
• Surviving or former spouses, civil partners and adult dependents of holders of residency certificates for persons of independent means or holders of certificates of permanent residence for persons of independent means, who are applying for such certificates in their own right;
• Persons applying for certificates of direct investment;
• Surviving/former spouse or civil partner of a certificate of direct investment holder applying for such a certificate in their own right;
• Holders of residency certificates (Substantial Business Presence);
• Spouses, civil partners and dependents of people holding residency certificates for persons of independent means and certificates of Direct Investment;
• Persons exempted from the gainful occupation requirements of non-Caymanians.
WORC officials noted that the changes meant that temporary work permit applicants must submit an additional form along with the other required documents, although previously no medical form was required.
Under the CBC – Customs and Border Control (Amendment) Act, 2021, the following are now affected:
• Student visas;
• Persons renewing student visas;
• Persons arriving under the Global Citizen Concierge programme; and
• Those receiving entry permits approved by Cabinet.
Government has built in a short grace period for people overseas who might not be able to access the vaccine, so they can submit, along with their application, a declaration of their intent to complete an approved vaccine course within 40 days of arrival on-island. Failure to provide WORC or CBC a vaccination certificate confirming that the applicant has completed the full course will result in revocation of the approved application. People already on-island when submitting their application can also declare their intent to complete an approved vaccine course, and provide a vaccination certificate to within 40 days of approval. Failure to provide WORC or CBC will result in revocation of any grant and having to leave the Islands.
Anyone seeking exemption from the Acts on medical grounds must obtain a letter/certificate from a physician in the Cayman Islands, if applying locally, or from a physician from the country of origin, if applying overseas. This document must be sent to the Health Services Authority for review and approval by the Medical Officer of Health, after which it should be submitted along with the application.
Additionally, WORC and CBC officials stress that if a vaccination certificate, declaration, or medical exemption is not included at the time of the application submission, this may cause a deferral or delay in processing. The declaration form can be found on both CBC and WORC websites.
To facilitate COVID-19 social distancing protocols, WORC and CBC encourages customers with queries to email: WORC@gov.ky or call 1-345-945-9672 or toll free 1 (800) 534 9672 or Customs & Border Control, email email@example.com or call the Customer Support Centre 1-345-649-4579.