In the last several weeks, it has come to my attention that several Residency and Employment Rights Certificate (RERC) holders – Spouse of Caymanians have let their certificates expire. So I have thought to myself why is this happening and how can this be fixed?
For those of you who are not aware a RERC is granted for 7 years to the spouse of a Caymanian and prior to the expiry of this certificate, the Spouse of a Caymanian has two options 1) to apply for continuation of their RERC for a further 7 years or 2) apply for Caymanian Status (likely on the grounds of marriage). Should the spouse of a Caymanian apply after the expiry date of the RERC, they must cease working immediately.
There are two problems with the above: 1) It is apparent that seven years is a long time away for most people to remember something 2) Should the certificate expire the spouse of a Caymanian’s employer must submit a work permit grant application for the individual. This process can take on average 2-3 months before the work permit is granted(assuming of course it is granted). In this situation not only is the spouse disenfranchised, so is his/hers Caymanian family; decreased income or, in some situations, no income is being generated for the household.
Isn’t the Immigration Law based on and designed to ensure the protection and be in the best interest of Caymanians?
So, this is my proposition: Amend the Immigration Law so that RERC certificates are granted to the spouses of Caymanians as a “life-time” certificate (subject to the same conditions as they are now) whereby a sworn affidavit of solidarity of marriage must be submitted to the Department of Immigration each year. Spouse of Caymanians may apply for their Status after 7 years of marriage should they choose – in the same manner it is done now.
I believe that this way there does not leave room for forgetfulness or breaks in employment that subsequently can be detrimental to Caymanian households. Much like how Permanent Residency Certificates (based on 8 years of residency) don’t expire – neither should RERC -Spouse of Caymanian certificates.
Makes sense to me… What are your thoughts?