BVI News

More focus on customer service for Immigration! Discourtesy a concern

The Department of Immigration will be focusing on greater training for its members of staff to improve the customer service profile of the British Virgin Islands.

Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe gave that indication while responding to concerns about the reported discourteousness of some Immigration officers stationed at local ports of entry.

According Opposition Leader, Julian Fraser, he has personally witnessed “discourteous service” from these officers while travelling through local ports.

Fraser, who was speaking during recent Standing Finance Committee (SFC) meetings, further asked the leadership of the Immigration Department about their criteria for assigning officers to the ports of entry and about these officers’ level of customer service and professionalism.

In response, Stoutt-Igwe stated that “there is a greater emphasis on customer service by the Deputy Governor’s Office and as a result there would be more customer service training” available to these officers.

She further said “there would be a personalised message and a certain level of courtesy is expected to be given to Members of the House of Assembly (HOA).”

Meanwhile, Chief Immigration Officer Ian Penn also said the his department tries to undertake training for officers to ensure that persons received a welcoming experience and stated that complaints are “addressed” whenever the department receives them.


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  1. Truth says:

    I have also witness the Animal like behavior. It’s really not necessary . They abuse their power. Be nice to the tourist and locals alike. Though I must say. Not all behave like an animals. A few of the younger ones at the airport are a bit more pleasant. Especially the new recruits(security). They aren’t so bad. In fact they aren’t bad at all. Hopefully the older ones don’t spoil them!
    Immigration is a lost case. Just looking at their faces upon arrival made me want to turn around and get back on the plane. Haha. Like leave your troubles at home. Why so serious???

    Like 41
    Dislike 1
  2. Disgruntled says:

    if the immigration officers were not to over worked,understaffed and getting a low salary for all the hard work that they do to make the head of the dept look good then they won’t be do disgruntled to the customers. Immigration is a hard job where your concerns as an officer does not get addressed by the head. He commented and said problems are addressed and the staff undertakes training that is propaganda.

    Like 8
    Dislike 30
  3. PIGS says:

    are pigs wherever you go , if they were brought up properly the we won’t have these set of pigs loose in the place , with their ( don’t care / don’t give a damn / I couldn’t care too sh*t attitude and lackadaisical mentality of I from here so am entitled , like it or not ) ignorance is becoming a culture here now

    Like 24
    Dislike 2
  4. about time says:

    Ayo gotta done away wid dah piggish attitude

    Like 13
  5. Maybe says:

    I don’t think the issue solely lies with the officers and their level of customer service. There are several polite, professional, and efficient officers in the department. It is unfair to paint the entire department black because of a few bad apples.

    They need to rotate the officers and discipline those not performing up to par.

    Also, some rude behaviors persist in the office, not just at the ports. The department needs an entire overhaul in the way they address matters. They apply “one size fits all” policies that sometimes make no sense.

    Sometimes it seems they are happy to wield power because they can determine whether someone stays or goes. How can someone who is honest and working and who has lived in the territory for 15, 20, or 25 years struggle to get time in their passport? How do they feel knowing they have children who have lived here all their lives struggling to get time or treated like illegal immigrants in their office?

    So the issue is not just customer service. It’s the way that they apply policies. It’s the picture management sends to the staff and the customers that they really don’t care.

    Like 19
    Dislike 1
  6. @Disgruntled says:

    Poor management and or poor working conditions do not excuse taking it out on visitors who have nothing to do with the situation.

    Like 16
  7. Resident says:

    This issue with immigration goes back many years. I remember when I used to have to go there for my stamp in my passport how I used to feel. I worked legally for BVI govt but in there was so depressing and I’m talking 30+ years ago. They made you feel so unwelcomed. So it’s ingrained and will take a lot of education and training to get rid of that attitude. It comes from the top. Ian was not a friendly front officer either.

    Like 17
  8. Poor says:

    The biggest pig of them all work at the Road Town ferry port. A nasty piece of work dealing with tourists and locals. Glad to see something being done.

    Like 17
    Dislike 1
  9. change ayo attitudes says:

    Lets hope its money well spent and not wasted

  10. too true says:

    Slow, lazy, and arrogant. The worst immigration and customs workers in the Caribbean. I have been on line many times when tourists are treated rudely…staff taking breaks with huge lines to chat up their friends. I have actually heard tourists in front of me saying “never again, they don’t deserve our money!” What a shame. Good thing they make all that extra Money smuggling drugs and guns, and paying off their bosses. Will never change.

    Like 18
  11. @disgruntled says:

    None of that is an excuse for rudeness. Being pleasant makes everyone’s life a little easier.
    Keep your disgruntlement for behind the scenes.

  12. What!!!! says:

    Poor pay, long hours, etc are no excuses to be so rude especially to visitors. If your work conditions are so bad for you then find
    another job.
    I have personally witnessed a immigration woman at Road Town ferry dock being extremely nasty to visitors coming in .

  13. Busy Bee says:

    This is a topic that has been on every tourism forum where the BVI is mentioned, and has been there for donkey’s years! And lest we forget, HM Customs is right there on the front line too, let’s not leave them out. The commentary is never, ever, complimentary. Usually it’s more about how the Immigration and Customs officers must have learned their trade in East Germany.

    The territory has desperately needed some customer service training in both departments for decades.

    Like 11
  14. Charles says:

    The ladies in Roadtown ferry dock are the worst ….nasty.

  15. john says:

    Those are two separate issues. If they have HR issues then they need to take that up with their management and HR. Nobody should be taking out their frustrations on the customer/passenger/tourist.

    Would you want a doctor to be taking out his frustrations against his employer on you
    while he’s doing surgery?

  16. a fish rots from the head down says:

    – bad customer service at ports of entry
    – delays of processing of work permits
    – delays of processing of residency and belonger
    – regular escaping of detainees
    – smuggling of ‘dancers’

    has this not been noticed by anyone?

    Like 12
  17. Let The Church Say Amen says:

    There are so many issues and problems with Immigration that I do not think they will be solved any time soon. The poor and rude service seem to be part of the culture of that department. It must be noted that the crass, obnoxious behavior come from a few officers. I dare say most of the gang are not like that. One issue that needs to be addressed while we’re at it. Why do Immigration officers continue to hold on to people’s passports? What policy or law gives the department the right to do that? There are rare cases when that is acceptable, like when there is crime committed, and deportee. What happens when someone has an emergency on the weekend and needs to travel? Passports are the property of the issuing governments and should not be confiscated without just cause. Processing an individual is not cause to hold that person’s passport. Make copies and process from the copies. This is a blatant abuse authority and must be stopped. Stop treating people like common criminals.
    That has happened to me before and I will never let it happen again. No officer will hold my passport at immigration. Ans, unless I commit a crime they cannot make me from the Territory. They better be ready for a real battle that won’t end well for them.

    Like 12
  18. ReX FeRaL says:

    what ever is said here about immigration I have seen in other Caribbean destinations. some here don’t b*tch when immigration give them a break on expired documents, attempting illegal entry or granting extension to time when not qualified. The most ungrateful people in the virgin Islands are Caribbean expatriate people. A lot of you will dispute this but it s real talk. customer Service and immigration service don’t really mesh per say. it is a darn law enforcement/border protection department. B*tch now.

    Like 3
    Dislike 5
  19. expat resident says:

    A few years ago I would agree with this but based on my recent experiences while returning to the BVI I must say I was quite impressed with their agility and felt welcomed back!

  20. Me says:

    This is so true. It is illegal for them to hold a passport unless its a criminal or deportee. A passport is the property of the issuing Government that is correct. One day they will get a lawsuit and as we all know the DPP or AG will lose the case. Photocopies is fine if its for processing.

  21. Wow! says:

    Make sure that the training starts from the top down….if the head don’t have any training in customer service, then what can you expect from the rest. Note however that there are a few gems in the bunch ….

  22. Ggg says:

    Ian Pen is l**ng. He himself needs proper training. How long has this been happening? They are very rude to everyone they deals with.

  23. More focus!? says:

    Well there was NONE before, so I guess more is better.
    It would be important for immigration to recognize their failures. This seems like more pushing under the carpet.
    The behavior is 100% unacceptable for a country dependent on tourism. In my opinion, the statement should be “immigration is 100% focused on customer service”.
    If that’s what you are shooting for, say it! Stop beating around the bushs on this important issue.

  24. THANKS TO BVI NEWS says:

    for telling it like it is the nitwit on the yellow site is more interested in dramatizing what goes on in the UK 🇬🇧 , and since he got blasted out of the HOA thats his favorite play peN, am sure his colleagues was relieved from his absence

  25. Fact/Truth. says:

    “The most ungrateful people in the virgin Islands are Caribbean expatriate people.” Not all though, but many are horrible minded.

  26. Roger Burnett says:

    My experience of matters pertaining to immigration date back to the early 1990’s. For me it was not the officers in the Department of Immigration that were the problem, but favoured families in higher positions who had a vested interest in influencing decisions to benefit their own ends.

    I won my case in the High Court – much to the government’s chagrin – and in the Appeal Court.

    Incidentally, I could not find BVI lawyer to represent me. They considered my case professional suicide due to the personalities involved.

  27. mola says:

    They should hire some young persons in their department because they will know how to deal with customers and tourists better but the problem in the BVI is they wan to hire people with experience why not give the young people a chance train them because some are willing to learn trust me

  28. mola says:

    They seriously need to do better or as someone mentioned try to rotate the staff

  29. Where is the problem says:

    This is the only hard time some get, because some come here and get away with murder in the BVI…

    You all really want them to have the BVI people like push overs

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