Guernsey, Jersey and Cayman: the same but different

These three small ‘offshore jurisdictions’ are dominated by offshore finance and influenced, although not bound, by UK law. However, they are also very different — both from each other and from the UK. The governments are different, the laws are different, the protections provided to employees are different and the processes are different.

In both Guernsey and Jersey, immigration work permits are required for those individuals intending to work in the Channel Islands who are not EEA nationals or who do not fall within certain other exemptions. Each island requires non-local employees (the definition of which varies in each island) to be licensed in respect of their employment. In Guernsey, a system of right-to-work licences operates to regulate the employment of non-locals; in Jersey, there are restrictions in respect of the number of ‘non-local’ staff businesses can engage. In both islands, certain employees who are ‘essentially’ employed in the islands may be granted a special residential and employment status specific to their role. The specifics of such rights are different in both islands. In Guernsey, essential employment licences are generally limited to five years, although licences for up to 15 years are available. In Jersey, such licences may be time limited or unlimited depending on the circumstances. Unlike in Guernsey, before a business can commence an undertaking and/or engage people in its business in Jersey, it must have a licence to do so, a failure to do so being a criminal offence.

In Cayman, all gainfully employed non-local persons (as defined in the relevant law) require a work permit issued by the Department of Immigration. These permits are generally issued for three years, but can be issued for up to 10. Organisations with more than 15 employees are required to submit a business staffing plan showing the number of Caymanians, permanent residents and work permit holders, as well as training programmes being undertaken to ensure future employment and promotion of Caymanian employees before any permit is granted…

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