Ask Auntie Award for Department of Immigration

| 08/07/2018

CNS Local Life(Auntie): The questions I have received so far during the life of this column have covered topics ranging from bats to licence plates to garbage to white butterflies. But some subjects definitely come up more often than others, and one of the most frequent has been anything to do with the Department of Immigration.

I freely acknowledge that I am far from an expert on such issues as work permit renewals, permanent residency and the right to be Caymanian. And the good news for me as well as the readers is that I don’t have to be an authority on immigration matters.

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Which brings me to the point of this column. I could not have answered all of those questions without the help of several dedicated immigration staff. I know that the department is often the subject of complaints, mostly to do with the application process for various grants and the amount of time one is required to sit in the main hall waiting for one’s number to be called. (As an aside, I recall the days when you had to stand for hours before being helped, so the ability to sit through the wait is a great thing, though I concede that seats should have been available all along.)

While on the subject of the immigration hall, this might come as a surprise to anyone who may have had a less-than-satisfactory experience at those counters, but I feel I must point out that front-of-house customer service is a very difficult job. The clerks are there to accept your applications, making sure everything is in place. What happens after they put your paperwork in the appropriate box is out of their hands. They are not responsible for whatever slows down the process after that. My point here is that the next time you have to do something at immigration, spare a smile and a pleasant word for the clerks who are the face of the department and deal with who knows how many people every day who want to be anywhere but there.

But I have clearly digressed. Behind the scenes, the people who continue to assist with providing answers to the immigration questions you send me do so quickly and comprehensively. Moreover, if I don’t understand all the details of the response, my follow-up queries are also all dealt with promptly and with what I can only assume is a great deal of patience. I have also always found the staff members to be polite and pleasant. Not only that, I have received responses as early as 7:30am and after 5pm. So much for a standard work day.

The people who answer readers’ immigration questions are hardworking civil servants who diligently try to get the information requested. But you will never know who they are because they all prefer I simply attribute their replies to the department. So, without naming names, I want to say a public thank you to the immigration staff for all their help and give you collectively a well-deserved Auntie Award.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    They may know the procedures and policies but are they actually enforced?

  2. Anonymous says:

    A world class civil service. Thank you. Let’s be quick to praise.

    • Anonymous says:

      Been waiting a full week and counting for a response to my email. Another glorious day…