Amid complaints from members of the public about the infuriatingly tedious and lengthy Immigration process, Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Geraldine Ritter-Freeman has said her staff is frustrated too.
Ritter-Freeman said Immigration workers are now processing more than one hundred applicants daily in a building she effectively described as mouldy and cramped.
“Imagine seeing hundreds of people on a daily basis. The facility downstairs can only accommodate 30 at a time and when you have hundreds lining up at 8 o’clock in the morning, you can imagine the frustration,” she said.
“Space is a problem. I believe we have outgrown the space,” she added.
Ritter-Freeman said Immigration workers are also challenged because the department’s equipment was damaged during the major weather events last year.
She said the damage has made processing applicants considerably slow.
“All of our computers in the Processing Unit were damaged and so we have had to revert to a completely manual system which means going back to dealing with files; pulling files whenever a client comes through the door and that is very taxing not just for the persons that we are serving. It is also very taxing on the staff.”
Workers still diligent
However, the acting Immigration boss praised her staff for remaining professional.
She said they have been doing well despite the circumstances.
“The staff has been so accommodating. You can imagine when people are outside waiting for hours when they come into the department what kind of mood they might be in and we have managed under these pressures and the limited resources to process hundreds of applications on a daily basis.”
“So, while I know good news don’t sell all the time, I am happy to report that we are doing our best under the conditions,” Ritter-Freeman said.
The Immigration Department operates in the RJT Edifice in Road Town.
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