Immigration gets cash boost

| 18/10/2011

(CNS): Immigration has receive an extra $50,000 in funding from Cabinet in order to cover its overtime bill for the expected increase in workload in the face of the latest amendments to the law. The immigration boss has said that enquiries have already increased as a result of the announced changes from people seeking to find out if they qualify for the seven year term limit suspension or a ten year permit. Although there are around 745 people facing rollover before the end of this year alone, as government has not yet defined the jobs or industry sector that will qualify for the ten year permits, immigration does not know what sort of workload increase that change in the law could create. (Photo Jasmine Jackson)

The premier moved to suspend rollover last month for a period of two years to both reduce what was feared could be a mass exodus of work permit holders from the islands over the next year and a half and to give government time to think of a new solution to the current immigration policies of the seven year term limit and key employee status, which the premier said had not worked and caused “more harm than good”.

Linda Evans, the chief immigration officer, confirmed that Cabinet has allocated extra funding for the anticipated increase in workload. While the department has the statistics of those that will now qualify for a term limit extension permit or TLEP over the next 18 months, as yet she said she could not say how many applications for ten year permits the department may be dealing with.

“For this provision to come into effect the Cabinet must first determine which occupations and industries will be eligible. The number of occupations and the industries selected will determine the volume,” she told CNS, adding that at this point there was still no indication what they would be.

The immigration boss also said that the department was now gearing up to accept applications for the new extension permits and expected to be ready this week to accept the first of what could be over 700 applications in the next few weeks. Government will be allowing employers to apply for TLEPs retroactively from one month before before the law was published in the gazette on 11 October.

As the TLEP only offers a further two year reprieve on rollover and does not qualify permit holders to apply for permanent residency, employers who still wish to apply for key employee status must do so before they reach the previous seven year work permit term. She said the law still remains that applications for key must be made before an employee has reached seven years.  The immigration boss said it will also be possible for an employer to apply for a TLEP for staff working by operation of law if a previous key employee application is refused.

Evans revealed that the application fee for a rollover suspension permit is CI$100 and the permit itself is the same amount as what would have been paid for a work permit in the same occupation, and anyone refused a TLEP will have the right of appeal. 

Although it is not yet clear how much extra work the latest immigration changes will mean for the department, staff recently engaged in a training exercise focused on internal change. These recent changes to the law come ahead of what is expected to be even more fundamental changes to immigration policy as government seeks a new solution to the country’s immigration dilemmas. A local corporate trainer recently prepared over 100 staff members to anticipate, monitor and adapt to change.

“Change is necessary to improve the department’s operations,” Evans said. “But we can only be successful if staff has been adequately prepared to cope. It is therefore critical that we invest in them as change agents, for they are our greatest asset.”

See amendments to law here

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  1. Please says:

    Please may I have a cash boost too?

  2. Anonymous says:

    More money to do what? Pay arrogant senior immigration officers to refuse to return calls? Pay for greater inefficiency? To ensure that the public can never get the same answer to any query from any two officers? To facilitate the administration of the blatant rip-off non-refundable "repatriation fee".

    More money for what exactly? 

    • Fresh from Cuba says:

      My friend, my friend, my friend… PLEASE use FOI to expose what you have clearly suffered. I firmly believe that is a way forward to expose the dreadful practices with our Government. Lets' all get it out there and make them accountable.

  3. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    In the amendments the new 10 year permit isn't clear to me, it doesnt state which occupations are industries are eligible for the 10 year permit .

    Does this meanthat the Boards and the Chief will be able to cherry-pick, who should receive this? Leaving laws undifined and open to interpretation sets a bad precedent.

    Nice job Ms. Bodden.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What's the deal with immigration?  Why do they need so much money?  Almost every day I see an advertisement for immigration?  Tomorrow, I'm going to add them up and report them back cause this makes no sense. 

    • Anon says:

      Give the poor immigration employees a break. They probably need to work overtime because every other week Govt changes the Immigration Law…

      Its hard keeping up with it you know, when the law is amended so often, depending on which side of the bed the majority of the Govt members wake up on for any specific period.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Govt has paid a consultant to teach 100 Immig staff to accept 'change'? That this issue is seen as a sufficient challenge to the Department that it decides it really has to pay a consultant when money is tight says it all. The contents of this article is not doing much to change the stereotype of the typical Immig worker's attitude that most of us have to put up with at every encounter. Still, at least management is trying to push the boulder up the hill, its a start

  6. Anonymous says:

    They're making a right pigs ear outta this!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hmmmm, maybe if everyone transfers to the SEZ then the overtime is not required. That would save us a bundle.