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Overseas Health Insurance News: Cayman Islands more popular than ever with expats

The Cayman Islands has never been so popular as an expatriate destination as it is today, despite a number of new levies being introduced on foreign workers.

Being a tax haven, there have always been a certain number of expats that call the British overseas territory home, but now this has increased exponentially.

At the end of 2011 there were 19,927 workers hailing from abroad in the Cayman Islands, but by the end of December 2012 this figure had increased to 21,000.

The main reason for the influx of new expats is a relaxation in immigration laws, making it possible for them to get work permits which last for five or ten years.

Local government in the region has also started to offer work permits for any foreigners wishing to invest in the property sector in the Cayman Islands.

These improved measures have helped to counteract an increase in the fee levied on those applying for work permits.

This higher fee came as a response to former premier of the Cayman Islands McKeeva Bush's suggestion that expats should have their salaries taxed.

When this proposal was scrapped it was decided that a larger initial charge was the answer and would be less likely to scare away investors and workers.

Another major change to the culture on the islands is that it is slowly becoming less secretive about the workings and goings on, which could be off putting for some who have always seen it as a safe haven.

Money held on the Cayman Islands has always been free from income tax, capital gains and corporation tax, which means that thousands of trust companies and hedge funds are based there.

An unnamed British expat who left the Cayman Islands relatively recently, said: "A lot of the pressure for more transparency is coming from investors who want greater control over their money along with knowing where it is being invested.

"The Cayman Islands has a very strong reputation as the ultimate tax haven so this could harm the financial industry quite badly. The dilemma for these funds is where to move their money to as all major financial centres are being forced to be more transparent."

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