There are no restrictions on number of shareholders, nationality or citizenship in starting and operating a company in Cayman Islands.
However, due to immigration requirements and the rules governing the grant of a Trade & Business Licensing Board, in practise, only a Caymanian will be able to operate a business as a sole trader if they are competing in the domestic market.
Applications for a Trade & Business Licence and a Local Companies (Control) Licence are determined by the Trade & Business Licensing Board which falls under the Department of Commerce and Investment.
Non-Caymanians and people not ordinarily resident in the Cayman Islands require a work permit to secure employment. A person or his/her employer may apply for a work permit to the Work Permit Board or the Business Staffing Plan Board for employment in Grand Cayman, or to the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Immigration Board for employment in the Sister Islands.
An application for a full permit usually takes four to six weeks to process. Short-term temporary permits do not take as long.
Permit costs vary depending on the sector and the skill level of employees. The costs range from an annual minimum of CI$300(about US$375) for unskilled workers to CI$32,400 (about US$40,500) for senior management or professionals. Permits are ordinarily renewable for a maximum of seven years, but may in some circumstances be extended for a further period by the obtaining of a Term Limit Exemption Permit.
In Grand Cayman, all businesses employing fifteen or more work permit holders must submit their work permit application through the Business Staffing Plan Board as opposed to the Work Permit Board. Businesses employing fewer than fifteen work permit holders have the option of applying to either of these boards.
The boards may grant work permits for up to three years. Five-year permits can also be granted to holders of certain positions that have been approved under a business-staffing plan. A work permit holder can work continuously for no more than seven years. The only exceptions to this would be a worker designated an ‘exempted employee’ status or one within the civil service. For more details, please visit the CI Immigration Department website.
Every employer who enters into a contract of employment with an employee must furnish the employee with a written statement of his conditions of employment within ten days of hiring him/her. Health Insurance is also required. Employers are responsible for providing a pension plan for eligible employees, and for maintaining current information with the National Pensions Office. The current National Minimum Wage in the Cayman Islands is CI$6.00
The National Workforce Development Agency (NWDA) provides services in the areas of Conciliation & Mediation, Inspection & Compliance, Job Placement and Human Resource Development. The Inspection and Compliance Unit and Labour Tribunals ensures the occupational safety and health and other provisions contained in the law.
Persons requiring a visa to visit the Cayman Islands must apply to the nearest British Embassy or Consulate with a Visa section. More information about obtaining visa can be found at Cayman Islands Immigration Website.
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