Island Life Diaries: Jamie Nelson

1. Where are you from? 

Originally, I am from Canada but I've been living as an expat for quite some time – New York, London, Dubai and now the Cayman Islands.

2. Why did you move ? 

Although the long cold winters in Canada and the high taxes are fun, the Cayman Islands offers a nice lifestyle and a good place to raise young children all set on a backdrop of sunshine.

3. What made you choose Cayman?

See above. But also, it’s quaint while still being well developed and having sophisticated businesses operating through it (which helps it feel less remote).

4. What was the biggest challenge you faced when you arrived?

Work permit hurdles are usually the biggest issues for expats looking to make a life in the Cayman Islands. Because you start off on a 6 month work permit and are always at risk of not getting future ones renewed, it makes it hard to really set roots.

5. What surprised you the most about Cayman? 

That more corporates aren’t actually headquartered there. It’s not exactly a hardship posting for employees and there are obviously significant tax advantages. I think the biggest problem large corporates have is with the 60% local ownership concept – it’s extremely off-putting to accept a change in ownership that large and to relinquish that level of control to a relative stranger who may not have the requisite experience. Additionally, since they cannot be certain that their employees will get the permits they need to work and stay, they struggle to relocate key employees (and often their families).


Jamie Nelson

6. In your opinion, what is the single most unique thing about the island?

The single most unique thing about the Cayman Islands is that it manages to be quaint and sleepy while still being able to attract top tier businesses. It maintains its Caribbean look and feel while still keeping a close eye on the rest of the world so that it doesn't become a land that time forgot.

7. What do you love most about living in Cayman?

Seeing the crystal clear blue water every day glimmering in the sunlight.