I will be leaving shortly on rollover. Can you tell me what the rules are on visiting Cayman during my 12-month absence period? If I want to come back and visit friends, what are the rules? Also, if I wanted to come back and work in my former office for, say, one week every quarter, would this be allowed?
Auntie’s answer: The Immigration Law (2015 Revision) addresses these issues, and an official with the Department of Immigration helped to explain the relevant part, Section 52(1), which says: “Upon the expiration of his term limit, the worker shall leave the Islands and neither the Board nor the Chief Immigration Officer shall grant or renew a work permit for him until he has ceased to hold a work permit for not less than one year after he has left the Islands.”
What that means is that a person may come back to Cayman to visit, but they will be landed as a visitor and therefore subject to any requirements under the law that apply to visitors, such as visas. More importantly, for your question, is that the person cannot be granted a work permit until he or she has ceased to hold a work permit for at least one year after leaving the island.
There is one other point for you to think about. The official stressed that in order for the clock to start ticking for their one-year wait, the person must have ceased to hold a work permit. As an example of this timing, say that someone’s work permit and term limit expire 1 September 2017 but his last day of work is 15 August and he leaves the island 16 August. In that case, unless the employer cancels the work permit, the countdown of the one year doesn’t start until the permit expires on 1 September, even though he left the Islands on 16 August.
To clarify that a bit further, the official offered a theoretical example to illustrate: A work permit holder leaves the Cayman Islands on 1 June 2017, six months prior to the expiration his work permit/rollover (31 December 2017) but the employer doesn’t cancel the work permit with immigration. The employer then submits another work permit on 1 June 2018, a year later, to employ the worker. However, because the permit was never cancelled, the worker won’t be eligible for another work permit until 31 December 2018.