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Getting the Word Out

Businesses receive a faster heads-up on application results.

Published 31st January 2011, 12:33pm

With the introduction of email notification of work permit application approval notices, the Department of Immigration is continuing its modernization initiatives.

The new service went into effect last week and fast-tracks decisions on work permit applications by electronically sending licenses to the respective companies.

"This is the first phase of delivering enhanced online services to the Cayman business community," said Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans. "We are also re-engineering other internal manual processes and introducing technology wherever possible to maximise efficiency and improve turnaround times.

"Operating in these difficult economic times forces us to think outside the box and come up with solutions that not only save money but allow our limited human resources to be utilized in more productive ways."

Enhancements currently being made to the Immigration database, including the introduction of this new email service, create the capacity for approval notification licenses to be sent immediately after a Board meeting. Further technical changes are required that will also allow for deferral and refusal letters to be communicated in the same manner.

Enhanced business continuity is an end-result, as this service benefits businesses and individuals alike by allowing them to know at the earliest opportunity whether applications are approved or denied.

They can then plan accordingly and make faster transitions - including travel arrangements for workers from overseas. "This should prove to be a real asset," Ms. Evans added, "because the department handled over 21,000 work permit applications last year." Information on client needs was gathered over several months via a customer survey, focus groups and staff brainstorming sessions. "I especially thank my staff for arriving at practical solutions to our customer needs and I also thank Deloitte for facilitating the brainstorming sessions and conducting the survey - and at no cost to us."

However, Ms. Evans emphasised that she is seeking support from local businesses in this new email initiative. "We are asking businesses to send their current email addresses to so that we can input them into our database. Wherever possible we prefer non-personal email addresses (e.g.,

Technical arrangements to facilitate the email project were led by Computer Services Department Applications Project Manager Mick Whitworth. "Once the groundwork was done, we tested it on a pilot group of seven of Immigration's largest corporate clients, during December. The group included an employment agency - which also provided valuable feedback," Mr. Whitworth said.

Ms. Evans noted that the developments thus far, plus what Mr. Whitworth and his team intend to deliver in the near future, all speak to the quality service that Computer Services can deliver to revenue-earning departments such as Immigration. The department intends to publicly launch its new web-online access at the end of February. (GIS)