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The amendment to the Immigration Law has come into effect in June 2012. It introduces major changes to the immigration rules on the Island by creating a new category of permits for investors who wish to live in the Cayman Islands as well as introducing new rules for business visitors.

The new Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means now allows the holder to work in the Cayman Islands and eventually apply for Caymanian citizenship, without having to gain the previously required eight years of ordinary residence. To qualify for the certificate, applicants need to invest a minimum prescribed sum in developed real estate and be financially able to maintain themselves and any dependents. The applicants will also be required to demonstrate that they and their dependants are in good physical health and of good character. Details shall be published in new regulations in the upcoming months.

A Substantial Business Presence Residency Certificate is the second major change in the Immigration (Amendment) Law 2012. Applicants must either have a minimum 10% participation in an approved business with a substantial presence in the Cayman Islands, or must be employed in a senior management capacity in a business with a substantial presence in the Cayman Islands. An Approval in Principle Certificate will be available at discretion of the Chief Immigration Officer for six months for applicants who have not yet met the requirements but who expect to meet them within the six month period.

Visitor’s Work Visa is a new status available for persons employed outside the Cayman Islands who wish to visit the Island for up to five days in order to engage in commercial activity. These persons are now allowed to apply for the Visitor’s Work Visa at their arrival at Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman. The Cayman Compass reports that Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans said the idea behind the new measures was to assist merchants and others who may need a permit quickly at a time when the Cayman Islands Immigration Department is not open.

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