It's official, it's true, it's coming.
I've been rolled over. The ever-so-popular amendment to the Immigration Law that limits foreign workers to a term-limit of seven years has caught up with me. I pretty much expected them to catch up with me this year, and my "special circumstances" weren't that special afterall. :)
I arrived here in the summer of 1998. June 30th to be exact. I was on a three-month temporary work permit, and after that went into a 12-month GOL (Gainful Occupation License) this took me through to September 1999 and then I re-upped for another year. When that was up in August/September 2000, I left Cayman and went to Texas for a year. My year in Texas could be the fodder for many, many posts. To this day I refer to it as my "prison sentence" and ranks up there at the top of "The Stupidest Things I've Ever Done". I came back to Cayman in August of 2001 ostensibly for another three month stint at the Dive Shop to run the Cayman Madness program. I was going to nose around for work while I was here, but be home in time for Christmas and then if it worked out, come back down here in time for the spring break high season in 2002. That never happened.
Less than two weeks after I returned, right in the middle of Week One of Cayman Madness, (and also the same day the September 11th terrorist attacks happened) the dive company was bought by another one and expanded to include shops on all three islands, plus a reservations office in St Petersburg, FL. That was when I started to switch roles and went from Divemaster/Dive Instructor with an IT background into a split permit covering both the Dive operation as well as the IT side of things (which yes, included fixing the VCR at the boss' house when it just sat there flashing 12:00) My three month "recharging of batteries" in Cayman segued into a six month permit and then in May 2002 another 12-month GOL. Then another, then another. In May 2004 I left the dive shop behind and moved into a purely-IT job and left my fins & wetsuit behind for a desk, shoes, socks, underwear and shirts with buttons on it.
This year, when my permit was renewed, it was only renewed until August 27th, 2008 rather than the full year of November 29, 2008. I knew right away that the jig was up, because it was seven years to the day that I set foot back on Grand Cayman. Sure enough the next week I got the official letter from the Department of Immigration telling me I had been granted my final work permit and that I should start making plans to leave the island.
At work, they tossed around the idea of applying for Key Employee Exemption, which would grant me another two years/two work permits but then I'd be in limbo until the application was granted or denied and then wait on the appeal. IF it went through, then I'd have to start the process of applying for Permanent Residency, part of which includes buying property (or at least makes them look more favorably at your application) and then they just might deny that after all that work. Conversely, if I leave here I have to stay gone for at least a year. After that year, should I decide to come back, my "clock" would be reset and I would have another seven years. I'm not PLANNING to come back here again, but I'm never saying never, either. In light of all that, I decided to not pursue the Key Employee exemption and gave my resignation, effective August 27th, 2008.
It's still four months away, but there's a lot of work to be done to re-patriate back to Canada. Paperwork has to be prepared, shipping of personal goods has to be arranged, selling of a whole bunch of stuff that I'm just not going to take back with me(Jeep, Vespa, computers, etc etc..., making arrangements to change addresses for my bank accounts (you didn't really think I was going to give up my offshore accounts, did you? :)) and arrange to cash out my pension down here and then roll it into new accounts back in Canada. I also have to update and circulate my resume and find a job, a car and a place to live back in Vancouver.
Part of the reason I "went quiet" here on the blog was that I had not yet told some key people what my plans were, and I wanted to tell them face to face. I met my parents in Naples FL last month and told them over dessert, and my honey Lauren was down here for a visit just now and I sprung the news on her the night that she arrived while we were sitting on the beach watching the sunset. She was a happy bunny. :)
Now that the cat is out of the bag, I'll resume posting things here again more regularly because I'm absolutely positive that there are going to come up situations when dealing with the various governments that are juuuuuuuuust hysterically funny.
As an aside, I wonder what to call this blog once I move, or if I should even bother with it anymore? It won't be nearly as engaging as it was when I was "kickin back at 19n 81w"!