GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) – Government has released regulations outlining the rules for the introduction of the Global Citizen Programme, an initiative led by the ministry of tourism that is designed to inch open the sector to rich visitors who can work from the Cayman Islands remotely. But government has not given a start date for the proposed programme or explained how it will impact what seems to be an already stretched quarantine and isolation regime.
According to the Department of Tourism (DoT), more details will follow this week with the official launch, but hotel owners and larger tourism stakeholders have already been briefed in private stakeholder meetings.
CNS contacted officials about the opening of the programme and its impact on TravelCayman, which is managing the inbound travel to the islands but they were unable to answer any of our questions.
Officials have previously stated that TravelCayman is carefully matching seats on the only two commercial airlines allowed to fly into Cayman as well as private jet arrivals with the current quarantine capacity and home isolation system. It has not yet expanded the categories of people that can come into Cayman from Caymanians, residents, workers, students, people with family connections and property owners.
Last week a spokesperson for TravelCayman told CNS that travelling to the Cayman Islands is still considered as essential and the current system is not designed to accommodate visitors.
Right now people wishing to return next month are not allowed to even apply to do so until next week due to capacity issues, so it is not clear when the new category of global citizens will be allowed to apply to come in.
Given the strain on the system already, compounded by the fact that many property owners recently added to the list are now waiting to come in, it is evident that, unless this new class of visitor is given some kind of priority status, the home isolation programme will need to be significantly expanded to accommodate them.
The regulations, which were reportedly finalised by Cabinet last week, state that in order to apply for a global citizen certificate individuals must be earning over US$100,000 per year, couples must have a combined income of over $150,000 and families must have a minimum income of $180,000.
The applicants’ income must be generated outside of this jurisdiction and all work must be performed remotely. The regulations also state that a global citizen can stay for a maximum of two years. The application for the certificate must be made to WORC, along with the first 12 months fee of $1,230, which includes one dependent, with subsequent dependents costing another $420 each.