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Immigration officers promoted without pay raises

The senate select committee also brought up another concern, this time, by employees within the Immigration Department.  That concern is that employees who have received a promotion and have taken up their new responsibilities have not seen the adjustments in their salaries. When asked, Director Locke said this is indeed true.

 

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration

“Yes it is true and it’s an issue that I have been taking up. Prior to my arrival at the department there were many persons of the 165-175 immigration officers there were a significant amount of persons who had not been completed with their performance appraisals, there were persons who had not been given their increments, there were appointments that had not been completed after six or seven years these are all HR issues which I hold dear to my heart because that is one of my fields and if you cannot give people what they are due you cannot expect them to give you support so this is an area that I have been at it and at it and it’s a very frustrating slow process. We have recently had transfers, we are still waiting for payments of transfer grants, for housing allowances, and these are things that affect officers. I much prefer that we do what we need to do and I have raised this matter with the CEO, I have from time to time brought it to the attention of the finance officer because they control these payments at that level the Ministry takes care of the administrative matters and the financial matters of the department so I can only report to them and hope that these things are addressed. I would much prefer for the government to pay them than for someone out there, and there are many people out there who are more than happy to step in where the government has not been able to do so as quickly as we should. When it comes to payments for promotion indeed there is a lot of officers that have not been able to collect their benefits and there is one in particular I think she was amongst the first that got her promotion and that was back in March or April and to this day she has not seen her benefits. Yesterday we discussed it to ask if her benefits were in her account when salaries were paid and it wasn’t there. When I go back to the office later today I hope to find out what has happened again, what is another excuse that I will get so these are challenges that I have to work through alongside the technical but I have to fight for those officers because they have worked and they are deserving of their benefits.”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“You say another excuse almost as if you don’t buy the excuses and they are just excuses not legitimate?”

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration

“At least the last one I got was not legitimate because that applies to vendors not employees.”

Locke says she has made suggestions to address the situation. But what has led to this problem? The Immigration Director was not coy about her observations and pointed out that the Public Service office simply does not care.

 

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration

“I do feel, and I’ve always felt this for a long time, not only at immigration we have a public service that is not caring. They don’t care about each other, and I don’t think they care too much for the service that we provide and we need to change that. We must change that because if you can’t care about the colleagues that you work with how can you care about the others that you serve and I’ve seen this extensively over a period of time too many people are disenfranchised. We have had officers who have retired, it’s taken them more than a year to claim their benefits after thirty something years of service these are areas that we must improve on. There is a lot of backlog of administrative work that needs to be done we have four persons only to do it, there are lots of other things that are coming in so staffing definitely is an issue but I think that sometimes there is that little requirement to spend a couple extra hours getting things moving particularly when it comes to financing for staff.”

Immigration Director Dianna Locke has been scheduled to appear before the Senate Select Committee for a fourth session next Wednesday. So far the committee has reviewed all the recommendations for visa applications and half of the recommendations for nationality. The committee hopes to conclude its review in the nationality and passport sections with the Immigration Director by next week.