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02/12/2019 | hsmoffice

Diminishing Returns for Work Permit Fees

Nick Joseph (HSM Partner) and Alastair David (HSM Associate) are both Immigration Lawyers in the Cayman Islands and they take a close look as to why there is a decline for work permit fees in the Cayman Islands. It appeared to be Read more +

27/11/2019 | hsmoffice

The Legal 500 Caribbean Ranks HSM

HSM’s Dispute Resolution practice and attorneys Ian Lambert (Partner) and William Helfrecht (Partner) have made their debut on The Legal 500 Caribbean 2020. The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world for more than Read more +

20/11/2019 | hsmoffice

Employment Lawyer Joins HSM

The HSM Group has welcomed Kathryn Rowe to their growing law practice. Kathryn joins as a Senior Associate and will focus on employment related matters. With over 17 years of legal experience, Kathryn has a wide-range of skills in the Read more +

15/11/2019 | hsmoffice

Cayman’s Population Numbers Don’t Add Up

Immigration experts Nick Joseph (HSM Partner) and Alastair David (HSM Associate) explain why the population numbers don’t add up in the Cayman Islands. Much has been stated in the press of Cayman’s growing population. The Economics and Statistics Office’s Compendium Read more +

Cayman's Population Numbers Don't Add Up

Immigration experts Nick Joseph (HSM Partner) and Alastair David (HSM Associate) explain why the population numbers don’t add up in the Cayman Islands.

Much has been stated in the press of Cayman’s growing population. The Economics and Statistics Office’s Compendium of Vital Statistics estimates the year-end population (as at December 2018) as being 65,813 persons. Of those, an estimated 29,108 are expatriates, and 36,705 Caymanian.

Notwithstanding the statistics (which relate to population), the actual total number of persons physically resident in Cayman may in fact be substantially higher. As reported in the Cayman Compass on 16 May, 2019 (using actual numbers provided by the Department of Immigration) there were 27,263 expatriates holding valid work permits or under government contract as at 6 February 2019 (some 5 weeks after the date of the ESO estimate).

That 27,263 does not include any Permanent Residents or the holders of RERC’s as the spouses of Caymanians, nor the dependents of work permit holders and government contracted workers.

Information received from the Department of Immigration and reviewed by us indicates that there were, last year, approximately 3,000 approved dependents of work permit holders and government contracted workers, and of the order of 5,000 other persons resident by virtue of some form or other of a certificate of residence (whether in their own right, as a dependant, or as the spouse of a Caymanian).

If we allow for some expatriates who are institutionalized (whether in prison, seeking asylum, or in hospital), throw in persons with student visas (there were 300 in that category alone last year), Cabinet permissions, Snow Birds spending more than 6 months a year in their beachfront condos, and some over stayers), it appears clear that there are more than 36,000 non-Caymanians “living” in Cayman.

If we add back in the reported 36,705 Caymanians, the number of residents may have already passed 72,000 in the last year. It is perhaps helpful to note that ICTA has reported there being 103,274 local cell phones in 2018. Certainly, some persons have more than one cell phone, but thousands (including young children) have none.

Informal indications (ranging from traffic to the availability of rental properties and the increasing height of Mount Trashmore) are that the population (and number of residents) has continued to grow this year.

Part of the reason for the disparity in numbers provided by the ESO, and those provided by The Department of Immigration (now WORC), is the methodology used by each. Persons who intend to leave the Cayman Islands within 6 months are simply not counted by the ESO, but are counted by WORC.

Accordingly, although persons are in fact resident for immigration purposes, they do not necessarily form part of the population for statistical purposes. That is understood to be entirely consistent with international standards. Those standards may not always be relevant to our domestic considerations, in particular given the very large transient workforce and the reality that (at least historically) when work permit holders leave, they tend to be replaced immediately by another work permit holder.

The result is that whilst statistically we had a population of 65,813 at the end of last year, the number of people living here was greater. We may now already have as many as 75,000 residents using our roads, sewerage systems, garbage facilities and other infrastructure.

If true, we have no need to wait 10 years to find out 100,000 people physically in Cayman looks (and feels) like.

This winter, a good cruise ship day, coupled with high hotel and condo occupancy (we had 6,720 rooms available at the end of last year) will (at least momentarily) push the total number of people physically present in the Islands above 100,000.

Even then, the number of residents will of course be less, and the population smaller still. The detail will depend on who is asked, on what day and why, and the statistics.