Rules for operating online business

| 12/12/2016 | 5 Comments

Do you need a trade and business licence to run an online business (selling product both in Cayman and overseas) whilst resident (dependent of work permit holder) in Cayman?


Auntie’s answer: It seems this issue of working online is of interest here. Today’s query came in response to last week’s column on the legality of working for a Cayman company while overseas (See Working online and off-island).

This time, I needed to get answers from both the Department of Commerce and Investment (DCI) and the Department of Immigration. An official with DCI confirmed: “Any trade or business conducted on island for a reward would require a Trade and Business Licence.” As an example, if someone here ran an online business selling shirts both in Cayman and Jamaica he or she would need to get a licence.

On the immigration side, there are legal mandates under this scenario. Section 41 (1) of the Immigration Law (2015 Revision) states, “no person shall carry on gainful occupation in the Islands unless:
(a) he is Caymanian;
(b) he has acquired permanent residence with a right to work under 
this or any earlier law;
(c) he has acquired the right to reside and to work in the Islands as a 
result of the issue of a Residency and Employment Rights 
Certificate;
(ca) he is authorised to do so by a visitor’s work visa granted under this Law;
(d) he is authorised to do so by a work permit granted under this or any earlier law; or
(e) he is a person entitled to work under any other provision of this Law”.

Your question refers to being a dependent of a work-permit holder and not a holder of a permit in your own right. In addition to that, there are specific requirements for non-Caymanians who want to run a business here. For more information on starting a business in Cayman, go to this page on the DCI website.

The law mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (5)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What about running online radio stations that clearly ask for ‘donations’ whilst working on permits here? Obviously they are doing so for personal gain, even if it’s in the name of the lord…. sorry.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The whole work permit system is a joke and the view of work is just some twisted crap by small minded people. After a while of living in Cayman I refused to help my neighbor anymore because immigration could twist it and call it work OR perhaps a bad minded local would think I was taking his JOB MY fears were well founded by threats of arrest from Immigration. They couldn’t believe I would love my neighbor so much that I would cut bush and clean for FREE Glad I am gone from your Rock

    • Anonymous says:

      Happily, the feeling is mutual.

    • Anonymous says:

      In the 80s my father, a non UK citizen at the time, experienced the same in the UK while visiting his family. He too was told he could not cut the lawn for his family. Do not make it seem like Cayman is the only country in the world that does this.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman does not do this. The restriction is on gainful occupation, not volunteering to help family or others.

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