The Cayman Islands has offered a reprieve for thousands of foreign workers who had had to leave the British territory on Monday.
An immigration law amendment, gazetted last Friday, allows non-citizens to stay another 45 days to prepare work or residence applications by extending the term for Term Limit Exemption Permits (TLEP). It also removes barriers for residence applications for those workers.
The TELP was created in October 2011 to help local businesses stave off a wholesale departure of thousands of non-Caymanian employees, who had come to the territory after Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
Many workers who remained on island had reached their seven-year term limit by 2011-2012 and the TLEP allowed them to stay up to two extra years from October 2011 to October 2013, if granted.
TLEP workers who otherwise would have had to leave the islands after Monday can now stay in Cayman until Dec. 9, providing they get their passports regularized on Monday or Tuesday this week.
After the Dec. 9 deadline, the exempted workers' employers will have to apply for new work permits on behalf of those individuals.
"TLEPers" who have been legally resident in Cayman for more than eight years also will be allowed to apply for permanent residence under the new legislation. This was not possible under the previous legislation.