(CMR) Over the first nine months of 2022, Workforce Opportunities & Residency Cayman (WORC) has levied administrative fines amounting to CI$273,170 on companies and individuals in breach of the Immigration (Transition) Act (2022 Revision).
The fined offenses include employment without a work permit, making a false representation, employment outside the terms and conditions of a work permit, working outside of the terms of a work permit, working without a work permit, Failure to answer truthfully, and failure to notify the Board, among other offenses.
The WORC Compliance Unit and officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) recently carried out multiple joint operations between 20 October and 4 November 2022 to investigate suspected work permit violations. During these operations, three people were arrested for working outside the limitations of their work permits. The employers involved have been contacted, and investigations continue. These arrests come less than a month after two individuals were arrested for similar offenses in a prior joint operation.
WORC Acting Deputy Director for Compliance Mervin Manderson said, “I am extremely proud of the WORC Compliance Team and all the other law enforcement officers participating in these operations. It’s amazing to see the collaboration, planning, and preparation involved prior to execution.”
Chief Officer in the Ministry of Border Control & Labour Wesley Howell said, “Well done to the teams involved. WORC takes all breaches seriously. My advice to those working illegally or employing persons illegally is to get yourself regularized and in compliance with the Immigration Act. These operations to detect, deter and prosecute illegal workers will continue.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Border Control & Labour Hon. Chris Saunders said, “I’m very pleased to see the emphasis WORC is putting on compliance and enforcement. We must consistently reinforce a strong message of deterrence. Our Immigration Laws are in place to protect Caymanians from employers or individuals who try to beat the system. While I welcome the fines being levied, I would far rather see Caymanians getting real employment opportunities and both companies and individuals respecting our laws.”
Deputy Premier Saunders also noted that in many cases, those employers guilty of work permit violations were also often in breach of local pension and health insurance laws as well.
“I would like to strongly remind employers that they should only take out a permit to fill a genuine role. Otherwise, how are the people they employ expected to support themselves while in the Cayman Islands? In addition to having no legitimate income, these individuals also usually do not have any health insurance. What happens if they become ill or get injured while living here? It should be clear to all that these types of situations can lead to further social ills that our community can do without,” Mr. Saunders said.
From January to October 2022, a total of 78 breaches were detected with $235,095 in fines collected, $38,075 remaining outstanding and $6,350 deemed to be non-collectible by WORC and currently with the Court's Office due to the companies or individuals involved being unable to pay.
WORC’s strategic compliance operations are expected to continue over the next several weeks. The focus of these operations is to carry out inspections of individuals and companies who are engaged in illegal working, illegal trade and business, illegal landing (overstaying, etc.) and any labor or pensions breaches. The goal is to process, fine, prosecute and, where applicable, remove persons from the jurisdiction who are residents through illegal means.
Individuals who would like to make a complaint or provide information about illegal working activities or other breaches of the Immigration Act may do so anonymously by completing the online form on www.worc.ky under the Complaints tab or by directly reporting the complaint to [email protected].