(CMR) Deputy Premier, Minister for Finance & Economic Development and Minister for Border Control & Labour, Hon. Chris Saunders has announced that the work permit application process is to be fully automated.
Mr. Saunders, in an interview with Sandra Hill on CMR's The Cold Hard Truth, said the government was looking to automate the entire WORC process, making the system paperless.
“We process around 5600-5700 decisions a month, but what people don't see from that is that most application is not one go,” he explained the tedious process of processing work permits.
Mr. Saunders explained that documents are often missing from applications, forcing workers to be back and forth with applicants getting the relevant information.
A fully automated process is expected to fix this, as the application will not be able to be uploaded until all required documents are in place.
He said work was also being done to get the online system to generate responses regarding the status of the application, for example, if it is approved or pending.
The Project Team is in the early stages of the program and will engage with stakeholders to ensure that the systems are user-friendly, efficient and effective.
The approach is to deliver various components incrementally, with the first round of changes to WORC online systems expected in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Mr. Saunders said his ministry also aimed to automate the CBC system at the airport, allowing citizens to do their paperwork online before arriving in the Cayman Islands.
“I prefer to see my CBC team focusing on keeping illegal stuff out of the island, the drugs, the gun, and so forth as opposed to finding what someone spends at Walmart,” he said.
Meantime, Mr. Saunders said recent work permit applications have been going through more scrutiny by the different boards. This is due partly to more people using the complaint hotlines, bringing more things to the attention of the processing team.
While some individuals have complained about waiting for extended periods of work permit approvals, Mr. Saunders reiterated that persons on the high-risk register, those who have committed offenses before, are placed under more scrutiny.
“You can't expect to get your hand caught in the cookie jar for breaking part of the rules and regulation and then expect I am going just forget about that…if you are on our high-risk register, it means we will put more scrutiny on your application,” he explained.
Mr. Sauders also stated that an accreditation system was being developed to outline who is considered a good employer. This could be completed by next month.
The Minister urged persons to register on WORC so his team could make informed decisions in the work permit process.
He also assured that issues of immigration, such as marriages of convenience, are being examined.
“There are some changes that we are looking at on the legislative side to deal with some of these immigration issues,” he said.
WORC applications are considered incomplete if:
-Sections of the application form are not completed;
– Personal details such as name, address, telephone number, email address, etc. are missing
-Signatures are not affixed;
-All required documents (on the checklist) have not been submitted with each application;
-Missing a Trade & Business License (if applicable);
-English Language Tests results, Police Records, Vaccinations cards, Health Insurance or Pension Plan details are missing.