Offshore (Cayman Islands) Factsheet


Introduction to the Cayman Islands

Situated in the calm, clear blue, sparkling waters of the western Caribbean, lies the beautiful British Overseas Territory known as the Cayman Islands. Consisting of three islands just 480 miles south of Miami, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman are what can only be described as paradise. Lying closer to the equator than some people realise the Cayman Islands’ climate is tropical and warm, showing little seasonal variation.

Over the last 30 years the Cayman Islands have matured into one of the world's largest international financial centres. This has been achieved through providing the services, infrastructure and operational flexibility which the international investor demands.

At 22 miles long and 4 miles wide Grand Cayman is the largest of the Cayman Islands and home to the main law firms and financial institutions.


The Legal Market

The work on offer in the Cayman Islands is of excellent quality, and due to the nature of the work, lawyers will often handle a wide range of transactions and work on a higher number of matters at any one time compared to their offshore counterparties. This keeps an ongoing supply of interesting and varied work, which in turn leads to broad experience.

The offices of offshore law firms are smaller than those of City firms, and so levels of responsibility and interaction are commonly higher than elsewhere. Lawyers who make the move to the Cayman Islands do so as a positive career development move; the smaller teams often foster a more relaxed working environment as well as excellent opportunities for those looking for autonomy and a chance to hone their client and practice development skills.

Lawyers specialising in the areas of banking and finance, corporate finance, funds and trusts will generally find their skills in demand. There is an increasing need for commercial litigators and insolvency lawyers.

Re-qualification is a simple process of applying to the Cayman Bar when you are granted a work permit.


Money Matters

Salary packages in the Cayman Islands tend to be higher than in other offshore jurisdictions and are tax free. It will depend on which firm you join as to the remuneration package you will receive. Some firms pay a standard salary package, some a salary plus commission and others just commission. Lawyers generally also receive various other benefits including pension and health insurance. Although the cost of living is considered higher than that of other offshore centres, the standard of living in the Cayman Islands is widely regarded as one of the best in the Caribbean region.

The local currency is Cayman Island Dollar (KYD), the exchange rate at time of printing is 1KYD = £0.76

Approximate salaries are as follows:

3 -

US$150,000

4 -

US$175,000

5 -

US$200,000

6 -

US$225,000


A “shopping basket” of a representative cross-section of goods is set out below:

Milk (1/2 gallon) - KYD$3.49

Bread - fresh whole wheat loaf - KYD$1.69

Ice Cream - Haagen Daz (1 pint) - KYD$5.09

Still water - Evian (1.5 litre) - KYD$1.99

6 Pack Beer - KYD $9.50

NB: KYD $1 = £0.78


Average apartment/house rental rates (mid-range)

Average apartment/house rental rates (mid-range)



Expense

KYD $

US $

Studio apartment

800-1000

975-1200

1 bedroom apartment

1200-1900

1463-2317

2 bedroom apartment

1600-2600

1951-3170

3 bedroom apartment

2500+

3000+

3 bedroom house with garden

3500+

4270+


Red Tape

Non-Caymanians wishing to work in the Islands must first have the offer of a job by a local employer, who is responsible for applying for a work permit on the prospective employees' behalf. To obtain a work permit, lawyers must have at least 3 years’ pqe from a commonwealth country.

Work permit applications are considered by the Immigration Board, which is appointed by Government to control the entry, residence and employment of non-Caymanians in the Cayman Islands. Work permits are generally issued for a specific occupation with a specific employer, for a predetermined amount of time.

Dependants are a consideration for the Immigration Board when the work permit application is reviewed.


After Work

The fact that ex-pats in the Cayman Islands work hard but also enjoy a fantastic lifestyle needs no introduction and it will come as no surprise that many after work activities revolve around the outdoors and the beach! The fact that the commuting time to work is minimal and office hours are often shorter than those in London, contributes to the fact that a fantastic work/life balance can be enjoyed.

Sweeping white sands and clear blue waters, year-round fabulous weather and some of the best diving in the world are just some of the attractions of the Cayman Islands. There is a close-knit ex-pat community and many people, adults and children alike, are members of sports clubs and societies (ranging from golf, sailing and swimming to horse riding, karate and yoga).

And of course, the Cayman Islands offer an abundance of fabulous restaurants and an enjoyable
variety of nightlife and entertainment, with most bars and clubs open until the early hours of the morning.

You name it, the Cayman Islands have it!


Useful Websites:
www.gov.ky  
www.caymannewresident.com  
www.destination.ky  
www.caymanislands.ky  


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