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Immigration Executive Departs

Outgoing Director of Boards and Work Permits Sherryl Miller

Published 25th October 2011, 5:3pm

The Department of Immigration is looking for a new Director of Boards and Work Permits, as the first person to hold the position, Mrs. Sherryl Miller, has decided to retire from the civil service.

"It has been a great honour to serve my country as a civil servant, especially in the position of Director of Boards and Work Permits," said Mrs. Miller. "The job is challenging, rewarding and exciting; it is varied and multi-faceted, and no two days are the same."

She added, "Although it has always been my intention to retire early, while I am still young enough to do other things, I shall miss this fast-paced environment - but most of all, I'll miss my dedicated and loyal staff."

Commenting on the department's "progressive changes and evolution", Mrs. Miller said she particularly admires Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evan's foresight and tenacity in putting in place new systems to improve customer service.

Ms Evans said, "We are very grateful for Ms Sherryl's services during these past six years and wish her an enjoyable retirement. It will be a very difficult role to fill, and it is of utmost importance that we find someone with the integrity and professionalism she has displayed."

Ms Evans added, "Her service to the government spans over an even longer period and she can truly walk away knowing that she has given her country her all, for which the people of this country should be thankful."

Before joining the Immigration Department in 2005, Mrs. Miller worked several years in the private legal sector, and in 1984 re-joined the civil service at the Attorney General's Chambers, serving there for almost 18 years. She has also worked with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and the Public Service Pensions Board.

In all this, she found time to be actively involved in national and district issues. She was a member of the Vision 2008 Planning Team, past Chairman of the North Side branch of the National Trust, and an Elections Office worker.

For these efforts, Mrs. Miller has received several government awards including the Distinguished Woman Award and the Civil Service Long Service Award.

Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs Chief Officer Franz Manderson applauded Mrs. Miller's "dedication and commitment to the government and people of the Cayman Islands".

He stated, "Mrs. Miller was a key member of my senior team when I was Chief Immigration Officer and together we completed a number of projects, such as the Work Permit Administration System. While I am sorry to see her leave the service, I wish her good health and a happy retirement."

One of Mrs. Miller's accomplishments during her time at the department was to reduce the verbiage on decision letters and create a simplified "Work Permit Licence", which resulted in a straightforward format for communicating approval decisions.

Amongst her key accomplishments as Director of Boards and Work Permits, she assisted with the development of the Standing Orders and Rules of Procedures for the Immigration Boards, which is now in use.

Mrs. Miller also compiled a reference document containing the various policies of the Immigration Boards, titled Policies of the Immigration Boards and the Chief Immigration Officer; her team has updated the application forms for work permits, making them easier to follow; and she has worked to introduce internationally-recognised English language tests. By year's end this will allow prospective workers to take the tests in their own countries.

More information on these improved services will soon be made public and published on the Immigration website:

"I believe it is important for the various policies of the Boards to be published," she stated. "This will eliminate much confusion and frustration for our customers, and even within the department."

While coordinating the work of the immigration Boards and their dozens of appointed members has been demanding, Mrs. Miller said she has enjoyed great relationships with Board members, and will miss the camaraderie.

These included the Work Permit Board, the Business Staffing Plan Board and the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board. The department also works closely with the Department of Employment Relations (DER). "This is critical, for the DER provides input on employment issues and the wider labour market which is vitally important to the Boards when making decisions", added Mrs. Miller.

The Director said that interacting with the public and the business community was a rewarding aspect of the post. Even so, she instilled in her staff the importance of separating business from personal relationships "which is essential, especially in such a small community."

While her retirement aspirations are typical, Mrs. Miller's reflections on her civil service years mirror the values she prefers to see in the corporate world: "I never intended to stay in the director's chair for a prolonged period. Instead, I hope to see another capable Caymanian appointed who will bring to the position fresh ideas and new energy."

Mrs. Miller especially appreciates the value of young people being given opportunities within the workforce. She points out that she began her civil service career as a teenager in 1976, when she became Radio Cayman's first female announcer.

Acknowledging that this experience enhanced her confidence and people-skills, today she admits, "Broadcasting remains my first love." She is very pleased that her daughter intends to pursue a broadcasting degree.

Now that she is retiring Mrs. Miller looks forward to spending quality time with her family, fulfilling her urge to travel more and pursue other interests.