In October 2020, the Cayman Islands introduced a new immigration category called the Global Citizen Certificate to enable individuals who are employed outside the Cayman Islands with a minimum annual income of US$100,000 to live in the Cayman Islands and work remotely for up to two years. Should the applicant wish to bring their spouse or civil partner, the minimum annual income requirement increases to US$150,000 (and again to US$180,000 with a dependant child or children).
The annual fees are relatively low, and a successful applicant will pay US$1,500 per annum for their Certificate (a fee which includes one dependant), with fees of US$500 for each additional dependant.
In terms of ongoing requirements, a Global Citizen must:
- Reside in property owned or rented in the Cayman Islands;
- Be physically present in the Cayman Islands for a minimum of 90 days per annum;
- Have adequate health insurance for themselves and any dependants; and
- Not offer or provide any goods or services to any Cayman Islands entity or individual.
The Global Citizen Concierge Program has proven to be reasonably popular so far. The Department of Tourism confirms that, at the time of writing, over 219 families have been approved, and close to 430 people (including dependants) are now residing in the Cayman Islands. In my view, one key attraction has been the 24-month stay which provides additional stability when compared to some of our neighbours’ programmes which may only offer six months or less.
In my Residency Practice, I have noticed the increasing number of clients that I am assisting with applications under the Global Citizen Concierge Program but whose ultimate intention is to apply for Extended or Permanent Residence. In my view, the Global Citizen Concierge Program offers such clients immediate and distinct advantages:
- Successful applicants can arrive in the Cayman Islands quickly since approvals typically take two weeks;
- Having up to two years to get a feel for the Cayman Islands, the area in which they wish to reside, the type of property or properties that they wish to purchase for the purposes of their ultimate residency applications (noting that there are no limitations on their choices), all combine to provide an incredible client experience where such important decisions can be made in a relaxed but reasoned manner;
- Significantly, should successful applicants eventually obtain Certificates of Permanent Residence during that two-year period and wish to progress to Cayman Islands and/or British Citizenship thereafter, any period of time spent under the Global Citizen Program would count towards such corresponding residence requirements for the purposes of those citizenship applications as if they had been residing on that Certificate of Permanent Residence ever since they first stepped foot in the Cayman Islands.
The Global Citizen Concierge Program offers qualified applicants an excellent opportunity to reside in the Cayman Islands whilst affording them a reasonable amount of time to properly assimilate into the Cayman community, and to make an informed decision about whether to acquire extended or permanent residency.
Overall, the Cayman Islands has undoubtedly benefitted from attracting Global Citizens to our shores over the past year, and in response, our Government recently confirmed an extension to the Global Citizen Concierge Program such that interested applicants can apply at any time until 31 October 2022.
Bedell Cristin Cayman Partnership