The programme is a variation on the much vaunted Citizenship By Investment Programme being practiced by some countries in the Eastern Caribbean such as St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Called the Global Citizen Concierge Program (GCCP), the Cayman Islands tourism initiative is designed for ‘digital nomads’ looking to take advantage of the flexibility provided by remote work. It aims to take advantage of the opportunity where thousands of corporations opt to keep their work force at-home or wherever they can be productive for the foreseeable future, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They invite eligible professionals and families to upgrade their home offices by choosing to live and work remotely in the Cayman Islands for up to two years by acquiring a Global Citizen Certificate.
Cayman’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism, Moses Kirkconnell, in launching the programme on October 21, said "Global Citizen Concierge provides the perfect opportunity for remote workers to live the life of their dreams on our idyllic shores and amongst our Caymankind people."
Kirkconnell argued that "Our Government has been successful in the face of the global health crisis and we've emerged as a safe haven in the Caribbean. Now more than ever, businesses are embracing the flexibility of digital existence, with many employees seeking a change of scenery and lifestyle. Remote workers can now spend up to two years living and working in the Cayman Islands – reinvigorating their nine-to-five schedules with Caymankindness and elevating their work-life balance with sun, sand, sea and safety in Cayman."
On Wednesday, in giving a update on the programme, Director of Tourism Rosa Harris, speaking at a Cayman Islands Tourism Association forum, said a total of 32 applications had already been received, and more were expected based on the level of interest the programme’s website was garnering. As applications can include spouses and children, the total number of people included in current applications is 70.
Responding to a question as to whether the resources expended to promote the programme was worth it, with only one approved out of 32 applications, Harris said that, to get an idea of the spending power of the applicants, she wanted to let the audience know that all the applications had been sent to Cayman on private jets.
“Our household income for an individual [applying for the programme] is at US$100,000 because our average household income annually for our visitor profile is roughly US$150,000, and it’s already proven that it’s scaling much higher in terms of affluence for Global Citizen [applicants],” she said.
Harris said there had been much interest in the initiative overseas, especially in the US, UK and Canada, noting that 12,000 people had visited its webpage, with 49,000 page views recorded.
In addition, 2,700 people had viewed the site’s online application form. The digital nomad programme had also been featured, she said, in 242 media outlets around the world.
She said she hoped that at least 100 people would end up being approved for Global Citizen status, as well as their dependents and spouses, who would be high-net-worth visitors. Although they would be unlikely to stay at hotels, she added, they would frequent local restaurants and retail shops.
She said it takes between 15 and 19 days for an application to reach the approval stage “but that will definitely shrink”. The approval process involves many steps, Harris said, including submitting bank and income details, and several agencies – including Customs and Border Control and Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman – were involved in carrying out background checks and verifying information.
Under the requirements of the programme, applicants must earn a minimum income of US$100,000 annually if applying as an individual, or US$150,000 annually if applying with an accompanying spouse or civil partner. If the applicant has dependents, that minimum income increases to US$180,000.
They also must provide proof of health insurance cover and pay a non-refundable annual fee of $1,469 for up to two people, with an additional $500 yearly per dependent.
Harris said some applicants had also expressed interest in bringing personal assistants or nannies with them.
Several other countries in the region have also launched digital nomad programmes, including Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, and Bermuda.
- Countries: Cayman_Islands
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