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Nearly 300k applications not digitised at the Immigration Department causing excessive delays

Minister of Immigration and NIB Alfred Sears. Photo: Dante Carrer

Minister of Immigration and NIB Alfred Sears. Photo: Dante Carrer

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Chief Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THOUSANDS are still waiting to be processed by the Department of Immigration because their applications were not transferred to the department’s digital system, Immigration Minister Alfred Sears revealed in the House of Assembly yesterday.

Mr Sears said nearly 300,000 files were not transferred to the agency’s online system when introduced in 2017, causing excessive processing delays and disadvantages.

It is not clear what the applicants applied for, but Mr Sears said his ministry is working to eliminate challenges with delays and errors.

“For years, the department has relied on physical offices, trailers, and rented spaces to store the vast amount of paperwork and files required for immigration administration,” Mr Sears said during his mid-year budget contribution in the House of Assembly. “However, this approach is no longer sustainable or practical in today’s digital age.”

“That is why I am pleased to announce that the department is implementing a robust file digitisation programme.”

He said the initiative would streamline the department’s operations, free up much-needed space and financial resources, and facilitate more timely application processing.

Mr Sears also highlighted plans to establish safe house and detention facilities in Grand Bahama and construct a purpose built facility in Inagua.

This comes after the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) raised concerns about the country’s detention systems in a report last year.

“The committee identified certain issues regarding the Safe House for Women and Children and the Detention Centre at Golden Isle Road, Nassau,” Mr Sears noted. “Capital improvement to both of these facilities were underway before the visit. It is important to note that all of the concerns raised by WGAD are being addressed.”

As for the facility in Inagua, Mr Sears said it has been designed to serve as a hurricane shelter to provide a safe haven for residents ahead of impending storms.

Comments

SP 3 months, 2 weeks ago

In 2017 300,000 immigration applications surpassed the population of the entire Bahamas!

We need "REAL BAHAMIAN LEADERS" to deal with issues important to "REAL BAHAMIAN CITIZENS"!

The leaders elected to Parliament encouraged illegal Haitian migration for the past 50 years are all are of Haitian decent.

The Haitian invasion undoubtably proves they did not have the capacity to care about things important to Bahamians.

DreamerX 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Lack any comprehension it seems.

rosiepi 3 months, 2 weeks ago

What the heck does this Department’s incompetence and laxity have to do with anyone except those who bozos supposedly working there??

birdiestrachan 3 months, 2 weeks ago

A whole lot 300 thousand people or more. Bahamians are out numbered Mr Srars what is that all about please explain I

John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Even though the minister did not say if all 300,000 files were active since 2017 or how many work permits were given, it is clearly visible that immigrants or even temporary workers are receiving work permits. The Mexicans have taken over most of the construction field and the Haitians taken over a lot of other jobs. And some Family Islands complain that the Haitians outnumber Bahamians as much as 3 to 1 and most of them have legal status. Sip, sip is that the present government gave thousands of Haitians amnesty shortly after coming to office. This means these immigrants don’t have to apply for work permits so the government loses out on that revenue. And if they try to go to the US, they will not be granted status, but returned to The Bahamas instead, where they have amnesty status. So their only other option is to return to Haiti. Which for many, not an option. And for the record, Haiti or Haitians is one of the fastest growing populations in the world. They already make up fifty percent of the population in Turks and Cacios

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