By Sue Nickason
Just over 12,000 km from South Africa is a tight-knit “Saffas” community in the Cayman Islands. First attracted by well-paying jobs and tax neutrality, South African residents stay for the lifestyle, the safety and the business investment opportunities. With rugby and cricket as popular sports and a friendly English-speaking community welcoming new residents to the cosmopolitan Caribbean island, South Africans quickly feel at home on Grand Cayman. Even the grocery stores have dedicated Mzansi special items.
As we continue to work with people around the world to share information about relocating to the Cayman Islands, the opportunity arose for us to host a webinar for South African attendees in partnership with Walkers, a leading international law firm with offices in 10 countries. One of our Sales Specialists, Ewelina (Ewe) Cimring, and Clive Thomas, a partner at Walkers, co-hosted the webinar. Ewe and Clive are both South Africans who have relocated to and settled in the Cayman Islands, and are both often the first points of contact for South Africans interested in applying for permanent residency. Ewe works with clients looking to purchase luxury properties to qualify for residency by investment and Clive provides comprehensive legal services to assist clients with the application process.
Left: Clive Thomas from Walkers; right: Ewelina Cimring from Provenance Properties
In response to growing interest from South African clients and colleagues interested in opportunities to relocate to the Cayman Islands, Ewe and Clive recently co-hosted a webinar on relocation. The 90-minute webinar included a presentation on how to buy real estate in the Cayman Islands and an overview of residency by investment through purchasing real estate. Two such programmes are available in the Cayman Islands to qualified applicants.
- Permanent Residency Certificate
- 25 year-residency certificate. Invest at least US$1.2 million in real estate.
- Person of Independent Means Permanent Residency
- Lifetime residency with opportunity to apply for naturalisation. Invest at least US$2.4 million in real estate.
Both programmes require that the applicant demonstrate financial self-sufficiency without the need to work in the Cayman Islands and clean police record and health checks.
Applicants that meet these requirements typically have many other considerations and questions about living in the Cayman Islands, whether on a part- or full-time basis, and this was no exception during the webinar. Following the presentations, a discussion on the benefits of living on Grand Cayman ensued. Questions were focused on the immigration process, buying property and the Cayman Islands lifestyle.
South Africans are well informed on various citizenship and residency programmes around the world. Webinar participants were interested to learn how the Cayman residency programmes compare. Many asked questions specific to tax residency in a tax-neutral jurisdiction, and the hosts explored the topic of achieving residency through a work permit as opposed to a real estate investment. The hosts discussed economic substance and the guidelines to meet physical presence criteria with those interested in the residency-through-business-investment option.
One of the questions posed during the webinar asked about opportunities to obtain a mortgage as an offshore buyer. Participants were interested to learn about mortgage interest rates and the average price of homes and types of properties for sale in the price ranges required to apply for residency.
There were considerable questions covering the Cayman Islands lifestyle, and topics ranged from optimal flight routes to travel from South Africa to the Cayman Islands, car ownership and driving distances on 22-mile-long Grand Cayman, cost of living, healthcare and health insurance costs, quality of infrastructure and – not surprisingly – sport opportunities.
The Cayman Islands presents a compelling proposition for South Africans interested in relocation. As Ewe noted, “What really sets Cayman apart from other countries offering residency-by-investment programmes is the lifestyle and the culture. My family considered a number of other countries before we relocated. Cayman stood out for its very friendly and social culture, the abundance of recreational opportunities and the safe living environment. I am so proud and happy to call Grand Cayman home and I love introducing the benefits of owning property here!”
Clive echoes Ewe’s sentiments: “My family has such a wonderful quality of life here. I am equally impressed by the quality of the business community. As one of the world’s largest financial services centres, Cayman is home to a network of top professional service providers in the legal and financial services industries. This is a place where a work-life balance can be achieved with ease and where the future is bright for further growth and development.”
For more information on buying real estate in the Cayman Islands, contact Ewe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on applying for permanent residency in the Cayman Islands, contact Clive at email@example.com.
About the author
Sue Nickason has been VP Marketing and Sales at Dart Real Estate since May 2017. Originally from Canada, Sue has worked in luxury residential-resort development in the Caribbean for over a decade. Sue and her team are committed to promoting the unique value proposition of the Cayman Islands to those seeking to establish a personal and/or corporate presence here. They serve as trusted advisors and offer exceptional service, timely market information and a warm “Caymankind” welcome. Sue earned a BA (Honours) from Mount Allison University, an MBA (Distinction) from University of Guelph and has completed studies/earned certificates in journalism, economic development, adult education, customer service, revenue management, and protocol. Sue is a member of the Christie’s International Real Estate Master’s Circle and an Angel in the 100 Women in Finance network.