Wednesday 26 September, 2018

10 Jamaicans deported from Cayman Islands as amnesty ends

10 Jamaican Immigrants who took advantage of the Department of Immigration’s (DOI) amnesty have been sent back to their country of origin.

The DOI on Wednesday reported that a total of fourteen persons have taken advantage of the ongoing amnesty.

The amnesty which will see those in violation of Cayman’s immigration law avoid prosecution comes to an end August 31, 2018, at 3 p.m.

Others that took advantage of the amnesty included: one Indian national, one Honduran national, one South African national and one American national.

One individual who took advantage of the DOI’s amnesty was found to have overstayed in the Cayman Islands for close to 14 years.

As part of wider efforts to enforce the Immigration Law, DOI enforcement officers are still conducting targeted operations across the Islands, and yesterday arrested a foreign national for overstaying by 12 years.

Under the terms of the amnesty which began on 1 August, foreign nationals can leave the Cayman Islands during the amnesty period without fear of prosecution, in any of the four scenarios listed below:

Persons who are residing illegally in the Cayman Islands, i.e., individuals without a valid work permit or any other lawful permission to remain in the Islands.

Employers may cancel work permits for employees for whom they have no work.

Similarly, employees who are employed on a valid work permit, but whose employers no longer have full-time employment for them may cancel their work permit.

Also, workers who are not working for the employer named on their work permit will be allowed the opportunity to depart voluntarily.

Workers who have reached the end of their term limit but who have not left the Islands, and persons visiting the Islands who have not sought a visitor's extension to remain beyond the time authorised upon arrival are also included in the amnesty.

To take advantage of the opportunity, persons who are in the Islands illegally should simply make an airline reservation and leave during the amnesty period.

Those who are unsure of their immigration status during this time may seek confirmation from the Immigration Department.

As such officials remind persons illegally resident in the Islands that if they do not immediately surrender to enforcement officers in such situations, they will be liable for arrest and prosecution.

After the amnesty concludes, the DOI will continue to actively pursue those persons who have not taken advantage of the amnesty and continue to commit immigration offences.

In regards to employers and/or employees who wish to cancel work permits, the individual must submit written notice to that effect, to Immigration Headquarters, at 94A Elgin Avenue, George Town.

Also, employees whose work permits have been cancelled by employers, or by themselves, will be required to report to the DOI headquarters with a passport, or other valid identification, for assistance. They may also report to Owen Roberts International Airport with a valid ticket for departure.

The maximum penalty for overstaying is a fine of CI$20,000 and imprisonment of up to five years. Penalties for work permit offences range from fines between CI$5,000 and imprisonment for one year for a first offence, to CI$10,000 and imprisonment for two years for a second or subsequent offence.

Administrative penalties for work permit breaches can vary by occupation and may be as high as CI$187,500.00 for a single breach in some instances.