Monday, January 20, 2014

Living in The Cayman Islands

article from May 31, 2011
By Jamie Douglas

The Caymans have acquired a well-deserved reputation for being a tax heaven for both individuals and corporations, and this UK overseas territory currently is home to no fewer than 93,000 corporations, with 10,000 mutual funds, 800 insurance companies and 300 banks. This small group of islands is home to no more than 52,000 inhabitants, a whopping 20% of which are expatriates.

Of all the registered businesses in the Caymans, most have no physical presence on the islands themselves, but live out of post boxes and barristers’ offices.

Gaining a work permit for the Cayman Islands

If you are interested in joining the other 10,000 expats from all over the world who live more physical lives there, the process can be easy if you are in a profession that is wanted by a Caymanian enterprise. First, they have to file your application for a work permit, during which time you are not permitted to be in the islands. The process is relatively straightforward, with one major catch, the so-called “rollover” that applies to expats living there under work permits. Your maximum stay is limited to seven years, unless you are what is known as a “key employee.” In the rollover situation, expats are rotated out of the country for one year, after which time they may return to live and work there for another seven years.

Several of the companies that are the most affected by this policy, such as law firms, dive shops and real estate agents, have been the most vociferous against this policy; but as the Immigration Law of 2003 was written, not even government bureaucrats are exempt from it. It is a measure that was adopted to protect the Caymanian identity (whatever that is) from the encroachment of foreigners. In my personal opinion, that is a bit hypocritical in view of the fact that they live tax free off the proceeds of all the offshore companies.

Cayman Islands geography

The islands themselves bask in the warm Caribbean sun 400 miles south of Miami, 180 miles south of Cuba and 195 miles northwest of Jamaica. The territory consists of three main islands. Grand Cayman, with an area of 76 square miles, is three times the size of the other two combined. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are located some 80 miles to the east of Grand Cayman. Cayman Brac features the highest mountain on the islands, The Bluff, which soars to a nose bleeding height of 1,680 inches, or 42,600 millimeters, above the Caribbean Sea.

Cayman Islands attractions

Beyond hiding your assets, the Cayman Islands are world renowned for the scuba diving in its pristine, crystal-clear waters, as well as for sailing and all the water sports that you’d expect to encounter on Caribbean islands.

After a busy day at sea, or a not-so-busy day on the beach, you might enjoy the world-class shopping before heading out to one of the numerous fine dining establishments that offer their daily fresh catch, as well as all the vegetables and meats that are flown in fresh every day from the US mainland. You will be sure to rest well at night with the balmy breezes that Caribbean is so famous for.

Enjoy Life and be Happy, and while you are at it, please be nice to all around you. Adopt a stray dog, and call your parents every once in a while to let them know how wonderful the life they gave you is!

Jamie Douglas
San Rafael, Mendoza
Where the Malbec Wine is Always Fine!

[Image: Georgetown, Grand Cayman waterfront, via Wikipedia]

I encourage you to write me at cruzansailor [at] gmail [dot] com with any questions or suggestions you may have. Disclaimer: I am not in any travel-related business. My advice is based on my own experiences and is free of charge (Donations welcome). It is always my pleasure to act as a beneficial counselor to those who are seekers of the next adventure.

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