22 February 2019 | News from the O

Ombudsman Issues Hearing Decision 61


The Ombudsman issues Hearing Decision 61, involving the Department of Immigration/WORC

An applicant made four separate requests under the Freedom of Information Law (2018 Revision) to the Department of Immigration for records relating to various topics, including policies, procedures and guidelines on the handling of applications for permanent residency. No initial response was given, and no internal review was conducted.

During the appeal various records were disclosed, including policies relating to applications for permanent residency. The Department advised that these policies were not in use.  The Applicant asked whether there were any policies that were in use relating to applications for permanent residency but did not receive a response. 

The Ombudsman, Sandy Hermiston, found that the Department failed to respond to the requests within the time limits established in the FOI Law. The Ombudsman also found that the Department failed to indicate whether it held the records requested by the Applicant. As well, the Department also failed to publish “records used in making decisions” as required by the FOI Law.

The Ombudsman directed the Department, now known as Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman (WORC), to provide a full answer to the Applicant, and publish its guiding documents related to the making of decisions.

The Ombudsman said: “This appeal is a good reminder that the law must be adhered to, even when public authorities are occupied with other matters.”

The decision can be found here