Accounting firm Deloitte has received a $143,000 contract to conduct a wholesale review of the Cayman Islands Immigration Department, as well as two other agencies, as government seeks to improve the hiring process for Caymanians and work permit holders.
Premier Alden McLaughlin said in June that one of his coalition government’s primary tasks would be to “sort out” immigration and reform the public sector’s hiring mechanism.
Mr. McLaughlin acknowledged that difficulties ranging from the permanent residence application backlog, to long wait times for work permit approvals, to Caymanian unemployment and uncertainties about who will lead the Immigration Department have plagued government for years.
“There are significant problems there on a whole range of issues,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “We’ve got to sort out immigration generally.”
According to bid documents reviewed by the Cayman Compass, Deloitte will be given wide latitude in developing strategies to restructure the department from its primary law enforcement role into a human resources and immigration one-stop-shop.
The review is to include the National Workforce Development Agency and the government Department of Labor and Pensions. It seeks a “viable alternative” to the current organizational structure, the bid documents state.
“While organizational restructuring may result in altering the current number of posts … strategies should not financially penalize incumbent personnel, or de-incentivize promotion opportunities,” according to tender documents sent out seeking bidders to perform the review earlier this year.
The review will seek to reduce duplication of tasks in the department and improve the “relevance” of corporate planning and decision-making processes, according to the bid documents.
“Restructuring options … are intended to provide strategic advice to the chief immigration officer – the principal change leader,” the request for bids states.
There has not been a full-time chief immigration officer since the suspension of Linda Evans in December 2014. Ms. Evans remains on required leave, paid suspension. Bruce Smith has served as acting chief for the department for two-and-a-half years.
The review will involve “directly observing” operations at the Immigration Department as well as business practices “at all levels.”
A portion of the consultant’s review got under way this week, as an online survey was sent out to the general public. Recipients were asked to give their views on how customer service and operations at the Immigration Department might be improved.