Two bills allowing the introduction of mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirements for work permit holders in the Cayman Islands are now published for public consultation.
Premier Hon. Wayne Panton announced the gazettal of The Immigration (Transition) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Customs and Border Control (Amendment) Bill, 2021 at a press briefing at the Government Administration Building yesterday (Thursday, 23 September 2021).
The bills are open for a reduced public consultation period of 10 days, ending on Sunday, 3 October 2021.
The Premier exercised his powers under section 77 of the Cayman Islands Constitution (Amendment) Order 2021 to reduce the public consultation period from 28 to 10 days, as the amendments are part of urgent measures being put in place by the Government to protect the community from the COVID-19 virus and aid in the country’s economic recovery from the global pandemic.
The proposed amendments to the Immigration (Transition) Act, 2021 and the Customs and Border Control Act, 2021, require persons applying for the grant or renewal of a residence or facility under Parts 6 and 7 of the Immigration (Transition) Act and Part 6 of the Customs and Border Control Act to provide documented evidence that they have either completed an approved COVID-19 vaccine course or pledge their willingness to undertake an approved vaccination course and comply with other instructions given by the Medical Officer of Health within a specific period.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Border Control & Labour Hon. Chris Saunders said, “The PACT Government remains steadfast in its commitment to keep the health and safety of our people and residents at the forefront of all policy decisions relating to the reopening of our borders. A critical aspect of keeping our people healthy is ensuring that a high percentage of our population is vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Deputy Premier Saunders noted that the Government had previously announced its intention to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for new expatriate workers and those seeking renewal of their work permits, with the gazettal of the amendments and the public consultation period being the first legislative steps in that process.
Premier Panton announced the PACT Government’s intentions in this regard at the annual Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon on 8 July, 2021.
Deputy Premier Saunders said, “As we see the deadly and overwhelming havoc that COVID outbreaks have had, and are currently having, on neighboring countries in the region and on fellow UK Overseas Territories, it is important that we act swiftly in taking every precaution to protect our community.”