Immigration asks: ‘How are we doing?’

A lengthy customer service survey from the Cayman Islands Immigration Department is being sent to local businesses to get feedback on how various aspects of the immigration operation are proceeding.

The questionnaire is on-line based and promises to keep respondents’ answers confidential, using them for research purposes only.

The first three questions ask for general information about the company, the respondents’ position there and in what capacity the respondent usually deals with immigration.

The remainder of the survey aims to assess ‘key performance indicators’ for 10 different areas within the immigration service.

Those areas include passport and corporate services, work permits, enforcement, ports, the Immigration Call Centre, and the immigration counter and reception desk.

People taking the survey are asked to rate each area according to a scale going from ‘extremely satisfied’ (number 1) to ‘extremely dissatisfied’ (number 6).

For instance, under the enforcement section of the survey, respondents are asked questions like: ‘Were you treated with respect and dignity?’ ‘To what extent are you satisfied with the ability of officers and staff of the enforcement unit to answer your questions accurately, based on sufficient knowledge of the immigration legislation, policies and procedures?’

The section that deals with the Immigration Call Centre asks about ‘the friendliness of the call centre staff’ and ‘timeliness in responding to messages left.’

Respondents are also asked whether they feel Immigration Department services at the agency’s front counter/reception desk represent good value for money.

An overall review of Cayman’s immigration process is being undertaken by a hand-picked eight-person team. But that review is mainly focusing on the Immigration Law and revisions that are being considered with regard to work permits, key employee status designations and permanent residence.

The e-mail questionnaire is being sent out by the Immigration Department itself.

Several areas of the questionnaire also deal with confidentiality and ask respondents about any experience they may have had where personal information might have been divulged to third parties.

Confidentiality issues with immigration were recently made public in a report from the complaints commissioner’s office that revealed that a number of complaints to the Cayman Islands Immigration Department last year were either not handled in a timely manner or were completely ignored.

The complaints commissioner’s office began its investigation following a complaint made in February 2008. According to the report, an individual sent a complaint to three members of the Immigration Department’s staff on 8 January, 2008. Private details contained in that message were communicated to a third party outside the department.

The complaining party also noted that immigration had not responded to the complaint even months after it was filed.

The complaints commissioner’s report noted the allegations were very serious and should have been investigated promptly, even if accusations of leaking sensitive information turned out to be false.