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English Language Testing

Persons coming to work in the Cayman Islands are required to have a basic understanding of the English language encompassing reading, writing, speaking and listening. This is to ensure that they are able to perform their work duties effectively, administer themselves and their families, and assimilate quickly into the community.

A prospective employee whose first language is not English may take the Local English language test (ELT) which is administered by the Department of Immigration OR the overseas ELT at one of the two recognized overseas English Testing Centres.

Overseas Testing Centers

The Department of Immigration will accept ELT test scores from the International English Language Test (IELTS) and Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), each of which has test centres operating in multiple countries. This testing facility is envisioned to be more accommodating and convenient as it will enable persons to make appointments and sit tests in his/her own country prior to travelling to the Cayman Islands. The Department of Immigration will only accept the test results from these centres if the prospective worker scores within the following ranges:

Prospective employees should arrange to attend a relevant centre in their respective countries. In the event that there is no centre in their country applicants may travel to the Cayman Islands to take the Local Immigration test.

Fees for testing are set by each centre and are the responsibility of the prospective employee prior to arrival in the Islands. Making appointments is also the responsibility of the prospective employee and he/she is expected to keep confirmed appointments with the relevant centre.

Test score certificates issued after 30th June 2012 will be considered by the Department of Immigration if they include the relevant 4 competencies Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Overall scores will include a combination of the four competencies.

TOEIC English Skills Assessment

Department of Immigration (DOI) will require testing in four English Language skill assessment areas being:

  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Speaking
  4. Writing
Tests for Listening and Reading skills will be paper based

Tests for Speaking andWriting is a computer based test

  • Scoring results for Listening and Reading can be completed by this test centre in a 24 hour period.
  • Tabulation of results regarding Speaking and Writing is a more involved process and will require 2-3 weeks turnaround time.
  • Applicants should allow sufficient time of 3-5 weeks for the process to be completed.
  • No online test verification is available and an internal process will be in place to manage score verification.


Department of Immigration (DOI) will require testing in four English Language skill assessment areas being:

  1. Listening
  2. Reading
  3. Speaking
  4. Writing
  • Global turnaround time for results is expected to be approximately 13 calendar days
  • The DOI will have online test score verification authority and an internal process is similarly in place to manage this aspect.

Local immigration staff will serve as administrators and will have test score viewing capabilities for both centres. The Board or Chief Immigration Officer (CIO) will communicate the results in writing to the prospective employer. While tests taken at these prescribed centres prior to 1st July 2014 will be accepted, applicants may not use test results older than two years for Immigration purposes in the Cayman Islands.

Overseas testing requirements are not applicable for work permit renewals in circumstances where ELT conditions are placed by the Board or Chief Immigration Officer. In such cases on-Island testing will be facilitated.

On-Island Tests

Prospective employee may also take the locally prepared Immigration ELT in the Cayman Islands. There is no fee to take the test and tests are conducted at the Airport. If found not to possess a sufficient knowledge of the English language, they may have their permission to remain or work permit revoked.

Persons who are required to take the test locally should call (345) 949-8344 or email the Department on to set-up the appointment. Tests are offered Monday through Friday from 9am - 12pm.

Persons who fail this test will not be permitted to take up their employment. Employers are responsible for advising potential employees from non-English speaking countries that they will be required to take this test and the requirement is also referred to on the Work Permit Application Form available from the Department of Immigration.

  • The English Skills Test takes approximately 20 minutes and will be conducted by Immigration staff at the airport. The test will be conducted in a quiet, comfortable and non-intimidating area away from public view. In assessing the results of the test, Immigration staff will take into account any factors that might have adversely affected the person's performance when taking the test. This might be where the person has arrived late at night or after a long journey.

    Persons taking the English Skills Test will be provided with writing materials and paper for the test. The test will require the person to give answers to both oral and written questions. The questions will be short and simple, for example: 'What is your name?' 'How old are you?'

    The questions used in the English Skills Test are pre-prepared in written form and have been approved by the Chief Immigration Officer or the Immigration Boards Administrator. The Immigration staff conducting the test is required to speak slowly, clearly, and with proper enunciation. He or she will also speak at conversational volume and will avoid using very long or complicated words or questions. The administration of the oral test will be witnessed by another Immigration Officer.

    Persons who fail the test will not be allowed to re-take the test and will be expected to leave the Islands as soon as possible.

    The following is a sample of the sorts of questions that may be asked:

    Listening Comprehension and Speaking Tasks: Oral Test

    We want to ensure that you can speak and understand English well enough to allow you to live and work in an English-speaking community. We therefore we want to ensure that you can:

    • Ask for directions
    • Follow directions
    • Tell what time it is
    • Count money to buy items
    • Verify correct change
    • Converse socially
    • Order a meal
    • Advise medical personnel in simple terms the nature of a medical emergency
    • Give personal information


    After reading the following sentence, answer the questions below:

    Example- 'The small, white cat was asleep in the living room'.

    What colour is the cat?
    What size is the cat?
    Where in the house is the cat?
    What is the cat doing?

    Reading Tasks

    Ability to read:

    • Dates on a calendar
    • Newspaper advertisements

    Writing Tasks

    The worker must have the ability to write sufficiently well to communicate ideas and information, but may make some grammatical and/or spelling errors.

    The person will be expected to show that they are able to:-

    • Address an envelope
    • Fill out an application form
    • Give personal information

    The Test will be graded fairly and objectively and in accordance with a pre-prepared answer key. The results will be given to the candidate and potential employer as soon as possible.

    Last Updated: 2016-Jun-30