FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Thursday, February 12, 2004
Contact: Joan Scott-Campbell / Ruth A. Smith
Direct line: (345) 244-1763
Tel: (345) 949-8092
Fax: (345) 949-5936, 946-0664
E-mail address: Ruth.Smith@gov.ky / email@example.com
THE IMMIGRATION LAW 2003 EXPLAINED:
ENTRY, LANDING, STUDENT VISAS & ASYLUM PROVISIONS
Most of the entry and landing provisions that were a part of the old immigration law remain in the
Immigration Law 2003. The most important changes relate to the responsibility that persons in charge of
air and sea crafts hold for those arriving in the Islands on board their vessels, as well as requirements for
students. The law also strengthens the provisions for dealing with asylum seekers.
Entry and landing
Masters of vessels can now be fined for certain breaches, such as undocumented persons entering the
Islands on their vessels. The Immigration Department proposes to meet with carriers’ representatives to
explain how the legislation will apply and will investigate ways of assisting in the training of carriers’
employees so that fines can be avoided.
The law also contains stiffer penalties for offences related to illegal landing and overstaying. For
example, a person convicted of such an offence could be fined $20,000 and imprisoned for five years.
Persons who knowingly assist another to land in, or depart from, the Islands under circumstances that
would contravene the immigration law are now liable on summary conviction to a fine of $50,000 and
imprisonment for seven years.
For the first time, there are formal requirements contained in the law for persons wishing to come to the
Cayman Islands to study. All students over the age of 18 who wish to study here and who are not named
as a dependent of a person already resident here will be required to have a student visa. The student may
be permitted to remain here for the duration of his or her course of study, up to a maximum of four years.
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Persons eligible to apply for asylum now include unaccompanied minors. An applicant for asylum or a
person appealing the decision of the Chief Immigration Officer on an application shall not be required to
leave the island while the application or appeal is pending.
If the Chief Immigration Officer is satisfied that for ‘obvious and compelling reasons the applicant cannot
be returned to his or her country of origin or nationality,’ he will grant that person exceptional leave to
remain in the Islands and arrange for the person’s support, accommodation and upkeep. Such an applicant
does not have the right to work.
If a person is granted asylum, he or she will have permission to remain indefinitely in the Islands with the
right to work for any employer in any occupation. The law specifies the grounds on which applications
may be refused or revoked.
Administrative and general sections
The Immigration Law 2003 outlines administrative and general provisions for the implementation of the
law. For example, it specifies the authority of immigration officers in more detail. Immigration officers
have the same rights, powers, privileges and immunities as police officers; assistant chief immigration
officers equate to the level of police inspectors, and deputy chief immigration officers are on the same
level as chief superintendents.
In addition to establishing separate boards to deal with Caymanian status and permanent residency, work
permits, and business staffing plans, the law introduces a new post of immigration board administrator.
The purpose of the administrator is to co-ordinate the activities of the boards.
The new legislation also spells out the grounds on which appeals can be lodged to the Immigration
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