The Cayman’s major industries are financial, legal services and tourism. These are the three main areas where employment opportunities can be found. While one can still find work in an excellent education system with free primary and secondary education provided to children. Unfortunately, the low population numbers also means that many employers have to seek candidates from further afield as there are not are enough qualified locals to fill vacancies.
In order for expatriate workers to find employment on the islands, it is necessary to acquire a work permit through the Department of Immigration. Work opportunities offered to new residents have first been offered locally with no suitable candidates having been found. This in turn also means that work permits are linked to specifically advertised jobs and do not allow for employees to change positions within the organisation or change employers on the islands without prior approval. Work permits are applied for by the employer and typically take about 6 weeks to be processed, and can range from 30 days to 1 year.
Opportunities in the financial services abound for those with relevant experience and well recognized qualifications in niches such as accounting and insurance. Most Commonwealth accreditations are recognized by Cayman employers. It is highly recommended that when seeking such positions, a person should register with a Cayman based recruitment agency. Most employers will turn to such agencies when looking to fill a position.
Opportunities for lawyers and legal secretaries are also plentiful in the Cayman. Lawyers require a minimum of 3 years post qualification experience in a British Commonwealth jurisdiction. Those with a background in finance, particular dealing with insolvency, insurance and hedge funds, are in particular demand.
Tourism in the Cayman Islands tends to have peak seasons when hotels, restaurants and other related industry employers will hire seasonal workers. The Department of Immigration does offer 8 month work permits for those seeking work in this area. September and October are when these hotels will begin recruiting, ahead of the high season that starts in December.
Other industries where foreigners can find work opportunities, particularly in management positions, include construction, office support and medical specialists. Lower level jobs are also available in the retail sales field, education sector and for plumbers.
Unless you are retiring or run your own business, you will likely need to find work when relocating to the Cayman Islands. The first thing that you should know about finding work here is that the culture is very pro-Caymanian. This means that where possible employers will seek to recruit locally. If there are no interested candidates and they can provide to the government’s Department of Immigration that they did try to recruit locally, then they can offer a foreigner the job vacancy.
To help enforce this trend, the Department of Immigration requires that the employer provide proof of having tried to recruit locally and undertake the process of applying for the work permit on behalf of the foreign employee. While the permit is being processed, the employee should not be currently residing on the island. You can however be present during processing if you have a temporary work permit that is usually processed within 3 days.
The majority of Cayman employers will make use of recruitment agencies in order to find suitable employees. It is advisable to register with several and ensure that you play up your qualifications. Foreigners with plenty of work experience and relevant academic qualifications are generally preferred. That said, it can also help to explore companies that relate to your field of interest and apply directly to them for vacant positions. Most have a strong online presence and will advertise these positions on their websites.
They key to successfully finding employment is persistence and patience. Most employees would love to find a job that can eventually turn from being a contractual to permanent position. These kinds of opportunities do still exist even with the continued influx of new residents. You just have to keep up your efforts and work hard to appear a professional that any employer would be proud to have working for them.