(CMR) Several businesses have abused the work permit process by shutting out eligible Caymanians and holders of Residency and Employment Rights Certificate (RERC) and have opted to recruit work permit holders, the Business Staffing Plan Board has revealed.
This was a significant concern in a letter sent to Minister of Border Control and Labour Chris Saunders earlier this month by Richard Barton, chair of the Business Staffing Plan Board (BSPB). The letter, dated 1 March, was recently leaked to the media.
Mr. Barton said the board had seen a clear abuse of the work permit process even from businesses that have been in the Cayman Islands for decades.
“The BSPB has noted what it perceives as a clear abuse of the process by some applicants that, for whatever reason, appear more determined to either recruit from abroad or retain their incumbent work permit holder at the expense of the Caymanian and holder of a RERC counterpart,” Mr. Barton said.
“This practice now appears to be systemic with some applicants that have operated in the Cayman Islands for several decades and demonstrated no desire to employ Caymanians,” the letter continued.
The BSPB chairman said urgent legislative reform was needed to increase efficiency and to repair the unfair and unfortunate perception of BSPB and WORC.
He also stated that the current system of advertising jobs online requires revision. While not required by law, Mr. Barton said newspaper advertisements of jobs should also be considered.
While pointing out that the issue of businesses abusing the process cannot be ignored, Mr. Barton admitted that Caymanians and RERC had demonstrated a lesser interest in some sectors, such as the hospitality industry. He called for an examination of the hospitality industry by critical stakeholders to address concerns.
He further stated that all relevant agencies need to work together to ensure Caymanians and RERC holders are a priority.