There is now greater harmonization between Barbados’ consular missions and the Immigration Department thanks to a training session conducted recently by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
The training session, which took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade with Foreign Service Officers, Immigration Officers and consular missions via tele-conferencing, included presentations on Citizenship and Permanent Resident Applications, Processing of Passports and Emergency Travel Documents, Entry Visas, Best Practices for Interfacing with the Diaspora and Special Documents Issued to Refugees.
It was designed to update embassies and consulates across the globe in an effort to improve the services offered, and also to provide a platform where similarities, differences, experiences and possible solutions could be found for emerging migration trends and best practices.
Acting Chief Immigration Officer, Margaret Inniss, stressed that “a partnership of this nature is very important because in this modern world we’re required to operate as one Barbados, and we know it’s a global market that is competitive and that has certainly forced us to consider easier ways of doing business”.
Ms. Inniss acknowledged that as representatives across the globe for Barbados it was critical that they always strive for service excellence, and this type of partnership was necessary for the rebuilding and rebranding of Barbados in the 21st century.
She said it was also important in the effort to market one Barbados, and there was a need to understand Barbadian products and the services offered.
Ms. Inniss added that Barbados’ people-centred approach to business merits a common hub on the requirements to service local, regional and international clientele.
Head of Consular Division/Barbados Network Programme, Acting Senior Foreign Service Officer, Natalie Cox stated: “The purpose of the training session was to create and to present a proposal for the operations protocol on how immigration functions or consular functions are to be operationalize at overseas missions.”
Ms. Cox noted with regards to staff, the training was to give a greater appreciation to those who work at the missions the techniques and tools necessary to do their jobs more efficiently, and to hear first-hand what difficulties they’ve been having, as well as what creative processes they had in place in order to address all of the challenging issues.
Foreign Service Officer for Europe/Asia/Africa desk, Kamille Hope, who is about to be posted overseas, said: “The training session was extremely important and useful because it gave me information about how to deal with passports, visas, citizenship requests, which are things you would have to deal with while you’re at post…and it is not something I would have dealt with on an everyday basis before, so this has really given me the introduction and understanding of how these things work.”
It is expected that the training would allow the Immigration Department, in collaboration with the consular missions, to respond to requests for services in a timelier, efficient and effective manner, as Barbados seeks to modernize its methods of doing business.