Immigration talks under way

Discussions are ongoing as to how
outbound immigration at Owen Roberts International Airport could be simplified,
according to the Airport Operators Committee.

The committee comprises everyone
who works at the airport, from fuelling capacity to airlines, catering, car
rental, customs and immigration, the police and the Cayman Islands Airport
Authority. It meets monthly in high season to discuss issues that affect the
airport and the people who work there. A particular ongoing discussion is that
of outgoing immigration, explained committee chairman Marcus Cumber.

“The thought is that immigration
processes could be done at the counter when you check in because we already
scan the passport anyway. So that information will hit the immigration counter
anyway and you won’t have to double-check; let us, the airport agent, do that
for you. As we’re already looking at the visa and the passport for forgery, we
can scan it through so [all the traveller] would have to do would be to go
through security into the departure hall.

“We’re hoping that they will have
almost a non-presence at the outbound immigration so it will only be people who
check in if they’ve got kids or if they buy a ticket within 24 hours of
leaving.”

Random checks

It would save time, although there
would still be an immigration presence to perform random checks, said Mr.
Cumber, who explained that the idea would require an amendment to the law as
well as ensuring that the computer systems were in place to facilitate any such
a process.

“Immigration is trying its best;
this will assist in their manpower but they have budget constraints. [Generally
immigration is] very good, very friendly and flexible, whereas when you go to
Miami they can be almost rude and intimidating. It can certainly be better, we
all can improve in everything we do, but generally I’m very happy, [speaking]
as chairman of the Airport Operators Committee.”