In the popular culture, Cayman is viewed as place were tax evaders and money launderers put their wealth. The truth is quite different in that most money laundering takes place in the big financial centers like London and New York, not Cayman. For many years, Cayman has had information exchange agreements with the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury and the major European governments — so one would be very foolish to put money in a Cayman bank with the intent of not getting caught for tax evasion or money laundering.
Cayman is a high‐income jurisdiction as a result of having a prosperous financial sector (having nothing to do with illegal activity), a vibrant tourist industry, and an increasingly diversified economy. Like most high‐income places in the world (including the United States), it relies on foreign workers to fill many of the jobs, particularly in the construction and hotel industries. These workers typically send back part of their earnings to their families in their home countries — which are known as remittances. Remittances are correctly regarded as the best form of “foreign aid” because they go primarily to people who really need the money, without government or nongovernmental organization middlemen who take their cut. Remittances often provide the seed capital for people to start businesses in their home countries to make their lives better.
Most of the remittances from workers in the United States go to those living in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and the Philippines. In Europe, most of the remittances go to those living in Africa, India and the Middle East. Without remittances, the poor countries of the world would be much poorer and the refugee problems would be much greater. Typically, foreign workers in rich countries send funds to relatives in their home countries by money transfer companies, such as Western Union, often known as cambios.