UK specialists lead workshop for Immigration

Frontline immigration officers who manage Cayman’s incoming and outgoing travellers were recently updated on techniques that will help them to be more effective on the job.

About 40 officers participated in the Immigration Department’s two-day course last week, which was facilitated by experienced trainers Kevin Jones and Linda Boyle of the UK’s Immigration and Nationality Directorate College, said a GIS press release.

The IND’s aim is ‘to manage immigration in the interests of Britain’s security, economic growth and social stability.’ It is part of the international immigration community and thus assists with training initiatives throughout the overseas territories.

One of the main topics was raising the bar on interviewing techniques. Part of this learning process included the PEACE model, which stands for Preparation and Planning, Engage and Explain, Account (Clarification and Challenge), Closure, and Evaluation.

PEACE covered effective methods to interpret passengers’ nonverbal communication, including body language, posture, appearance, facial expressions, and eye contact, the release said.

Other interviewing skills included document examination; scrutinizing passengers’ tickets; and a review of the various supporting documentation that can help to complete the information provided by the passenger.

The session also included global immigration controls in the 21st century; human trafficking and smuggling; and balancing service with control priorities.

‘This initiative was a refresher course for some officers, as well as an introduction to a more intensive training course offered by the IND,’ explained Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson.

‘This course is only a first step in our new training plan,’ he continued. ‘For example, we intend to send some officers to the UK for additional training, so that they can bring even greater knowledge back to Cayman.’

Mr. Manderson said immigration officers are required to perform a delicate balance between effective border control and customer service at immigration controls.

‘It is vital to the Islands’ security and prosperity that they get that balance right with each passenger,’ he said. ‘I am confident that this training has enhanced our officers’ abilities to provide a warm Caymanian welcome to passengers, while detecting those passengers who do not qualify to enter.’