How Do I Move to the Cayman Islands?
“How do I move to the Cayman Islands?” This is a question we get asked frequently. Never more so than now when The Cayman Islands has proven its safety, stability, and ability to offer quality of life to its residents in a year marked with global upheaval and turmoil. Our answer is usually, “It depends.” We hate being vague or sounding obstructionist! But it’s a more complex conversation than most people expect. It really does depends on your circumstances, your aspirations, skillsets and qualifications. Every individual we work with is different and has different needs. But our quick guide can help the thought process around your options.
So, let’s try this again.
Q:How do I move to the Cayman Islands and get paid?
A: Get a job
If you have the professional and vocational qualifications that are in high demand but short supply among the local population, you may be able to find employment in the Cayman Islands. Before you arrive, your employer applies for your work permit. This can allow you to work in the Cayman Islands for anything up to 5 years. Work permits are overseen and granted through WORC (Workforce Opportunities & Residency Cayman) based on whether a local person is available to do the work.
Permits are renewed annually, and the fees range widely and can be substantial depending on the new employee’s job title. Some senior positions can attract work permit fees of over $20,000 per annum. Employers therefore tend to be highly selective about the roles for which they recruit foreign nationals. However, the right qualifications and experience may get you in the door.
PRO: Undoubtedly the cheapest way for you to relocate permanently to the Cayman Islands. Your employer basically pays your immigration fees. A great place to start exploring is to connect with one of the many local recruitment firms like CML Offshore Recruitment, Nova, or Baraud.
CONS: Firstly, you may find getting a job difficult especially if there’s a Caymanian citizen who can do that particular job. Secondly, your ability to live in the Cayman Islands depends on your work permit and employment contract. Without a job, you can say sayonara to the Island lifestyle.
Q:How do I move to the Cayman Islands with long term security?
A:Cayman Permanent Residency
The Cayman Islands government offers four different residency options aimed at high net worth individuals. The criteria for each are extremely specific. Moreover, the process is generally best undertaken under the guidance of an experienced immigration specialist. The options are:
Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means
Long Term Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means
Long-Term Residency Certificate by Virtue of a Substantial Business Presence
Long Term Certificate of Direct Investment
The residency terms range from 25 years to lifetime access to the Cayman Islands. The qualifying requirements can be a combination of significant real estate purchases or investment in a local business (starting at CI$1,000,000), and evidence of continuous sources of income from outside the Cayman Islands. The application fees are also equally substantial. Some options allow the applicant to work within the Cayman Islands. There may also be minimum visitation requirements.
PRO: The opportunity to establish a permanent home for you and your dependents in one of the safest, most stable, accessible, and most beautiful places in the world.
CON: The cost, and the stringent application process.
Q:How do I move to the Cayman Islands for part of the year?
A:Live in Cayman Part-Time
Citizens of the USA, Canada, EU, and the UK may remain in the Cayman Islands for up to 6 months without a visa. They can travel on and off the Island and purchase property but cannot work. This option is popular with the so-called snowbirds, residents who migrate to the Cayman Islands annually to escape the winter months.
PRO: Live in Cayman without the administrative and bureaucratic headache for short periods
CON: The time limit and the inability to work locally may make it more difficult to integrate fully into the Cayman Islands lifestyle. Additionally, this option is better for retirees who can afford to live on the Island without working.
Q:How do I move to the Cayman Islands as a digital nomad?
A:Global Citizen Concierge Program
The Global Citizen Concierge Program (GCCP) was launched by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism in October 2020. It is aimed primarily at digital nomads. It allows travelers to remain in the Cayman Islands for up to two years while working remotely.
The qualifying requirements for the program are relatively straightforward, although all applicants will be subject to background checks. Individuals must be able to provide proof of an annual salary of at least $100,000. Couples must prove a joint minimum income of at least $150,000, increasing to $180,000 if they have a dependent.
The application fee is at least $1,469, and applicants need to provide a valid passport, a notarized bank reference, health insurance coverage, and a non-refundable application fee of at least $1,469. Finally, residents on the GCCP are unable to work locally and need to provide a letter certifying that they are working in a company outside of the Cayman Islands. The closing date for applications is October 2021.
PRO: The fastest and least demanding Cayman Islands application process for qualifying for Cayman Islands residency.
CON: Not viable for non-digital nomads or anyone who needs to work because of the inability to work locally.
Q:How do I move to the Cayman Islands as an entrepreneur?
A:Establish or Invest in a business in the Cayman Islands
Establishing or investing in a business in Cayman may provide the opportunity for your company to apply for a work permit as your employer.
Local ordinary companies are the appropriate vehicle for those wishing to undertake business within Cayman. They are generally required to be majority (60%) owned by a Cayman Islands national.
Exempted companies, while established and resident in Cayman, cannot carry on their business activities in Cayman; except in furtherance of their business outside Cayman. They also don’t need to have majority Caymanian ownership.
Special economic zone companies established through Cayman Enterprise City or TechCayman can take advantage of expedited incorporation and immigration procedures for an annual fee.
PRO: The incorporation process is easy to navigate, and incorporation fees are relatively low.
CON: The necessity of finding the right local Caymanian business partner as your majority shareholder. Managing the practicalities of running a business in the Cayman Islands after its initial incorporation.
If you want to explore the question; “How do I move to the Cayman Island?” further, we’re here to help.
Contact the relocations team at Cayman Luxury Relocations for a more in-depth conversation about your options and guidance in the right direction.