Immigration Department seeks to boost “efficiency, and transparency”

Immigration Department seeks to boost “efficiency, and transparency”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Department of Immigration is moving toward going cashless and digitizing its services, according to Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry, and Immigration Elsworth Johnson, who said this will improve efficiency as well as transparency.

Ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Johnson said: “In order to increase the efficiency that members of the public deserve, we are going cashless to avoid a lot of complaints we have been having and bring regularity and transparency to the whole process.

“I think if we go cashless it avoids people having to hide cash on their person to come to the department and some of the complaints we now have.”

Earlier this year, Johnson told a financial services conference the government is hoping to significantly reduce graft by eliminating cash payments for work, residency and other types of permits and make the permit application process more efficient through the implementation of an information technology (IT) management system.

He added: “We want to onboard our applications. We are trying our best to come to the point where you could sit in your home and do that.

“There have been a lot of complaints to the department about applications going missing, persons documents going missing.

“Along with the digitization we are going to build in algorithms to give you a reasonable timeline when matters will be completed. One of the other things that the regulation and the Immigration Act requires is that if you come to The Bahamas you should know where your living.

“It irks me when I go into the community and I see that we have given out work permit applications, and persons are living in unsatisfactory conditions.

“Employers have the obligation that when they want to employ persons to ensure that they are living in conditions that benefits human dignity. If you can’t tell us where you are going to live or where the intended residence of these individuals will be, I can tell you your application will not be processed.”