Are immigration officers capable of assessing medical reports?

| 13/06/2019
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Is there anyone at the Department of Immigration/Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman qualified to review and interpret the thorough and expensive medical questionnaires and X-rays furnished for work permits or say, continuation of Caymanian status at 18 (R22)? It seems unlikely that any application could be legally denied on the basis of an immigration employee’s unqualified opinion of medical incapacity. On a human rights basis, it would be a whole can of worms, let alone the teams of qualified medical experts that would be required to competently evaluate the volume of applications submitted.

On what legal basis could a born Caymanian be denied the continuation of their birth status because of some arbitrary medical opinion? Why is there a medical form at all for Caymanians? Do born Caymanians cease to be Caymanian if they develop a disease, like AIDS, diabetes or bunions, and where are we supposed to live out our exile?

Auntie’s answer: Your question actually addresses different sets of circumstances – individuals on work permits, those applying to continue their Caymanian status at age 18 and, finally, people who have been previously determined to be Caymanian without needing to apply for that right (what you refer to as “born Caymanians”). For good measure, I will also throw in the rules for someone applying for the right to be Caymanian.

I will go through the requirements concerning medical questionnaires for each of these situations and then deal with your question about qualified people assessing those documents. I also want to acknowledge the help of the Department of Immigration in getting all the answers.

Anyone applying for a work permit must submit a medical questionnaire (unless they have completed one in the three years immediately preceding the application). The same rule holds for a person applying for a continuation of their Caymanian status. For someone applying for the right to be Caymanian, Section 30 of the Immigration (Transition) Law, 2018 says, “the Board shall satisfy itself that – (f) the applicant is of good health and does not suffer from any form of communicable or mental disease that would make him a danger to the community”.

Someone who is “deemed Caymanian without having to apply for the right would not be subject to the stated sections in law, unless it is otherwise stated”, a DOI official said, meaning they would not have to submit a medical questionnaire. (Again, what you referred to a “born Caymanian” in the question.) However, anyone who has been granted Caymanian status may lose that right, as stipulated under Section 33 of the law.

As to assessing the medical questionnaires, the official said, “Where there is anything considered to be adverse or questionable on a medical as it pertains to communicable diseases, for example a positive reading for a sexually transmitted disease (the applicant must get tested for HIV and venereal disease), the Chief Medical Officer (of the Health Services Authority) is consulted and then a decision is made taking into consideration the feedback that has been received.”

Section 33 does not specify medical conditions as justification for revocation of Caymanian status (not the same as a “born Caymanian”), but the official added, “Decision makers have the discretion to forward anything perceived as a medical issue or any uncertainty to the Chief Medical Officer for advice.” I would guess that bunions or diabetes would not be flagged, but cannot say the same thing about HIV/AIDS.

To be absolutely certain about the ramifications of the various immigration requirements, I suggest you seek legal advice to address any specific issues.

The law mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Auntie, there is no such person as the Chief Medical Officer of the HSA. There is the Medical Director at the HSA. There is the Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health. Just to clarify titles. not splitting hairs