An automated system that will check the authenticity of travel documents, read machine-readable passports and photograph visitors will be put in place at the Owen Roberts International Airport, Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson told the Finance Committee last week.
‘We want a system that is fast and efficient and that does not impact on the processing time on the many genuine tourists who come here each year,’ Mr. Manderson said.
The machine chosen will complete the entire process, including photograph, in four to five seconds, he said.
Mr. Manderson said the Immigration Department had given the matter of photographing, as well as fingerprinting, a lot of thought.
‘We’ve spoken about it to other Overseas Territories as well,’ he said.
In the end, Cayman has decided only to implement photographing tourists.
‘There are no plans to move to fingerprinting,’ he said.
The 2006/07 financial budget contains an appropriation item for document imaging equipment which will help the administration of the Immigration Department.
Mr. Manderson said the equipment, which will allow the Department to move toward a paperless environment, should be installed within three months.
Currently, the Immigration Department still keeps physical paper files on all work permit holders and applicants, which creates a myriad of administrative difficulties.