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Apr 27, 2017

Omar Phillips Says Verification was Limited for Applications

Omar Phillips

According to Phillips, Immigration officers, particularly at lower levels, receive only the most basic training in the various tasks to which they are assigned on a daily basis. For data entry and capture, that is as simple as looking at the forms cursorily without attention to specific detail, and passing them on. Senator Mark Lizarraga of the Business Community delved into this aspect during Phillips’ testimony on Wednesday and found that officers are not expected to ask many questions about the people they see at their offices.


Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“How do you go about verifying that these source documents are legit? Because you play an important role – again, everybody points down to your desk and say, well, we go by what we’ve seen. Now, what I’m trying to understand is what is the process that you go through to verify that those source documents are real?”


Omar Phillips, Former Data Entry Clerk, Immigration Department

“What we would consider as the source document would be the birth certificate or the nationality certificate. The recommender form would be an additional to the application form and our job is not verify the signature of the recommender.”


Mark Lizarraga

“Have you been trained to spot irregularities; have you been trained to look at signatures; have you been trained to do any other sort of analysis?”


Omar Phillips

“The only training I got when I entered the Department was how to accept the form and how to do the data capture. There are some instances, like say if somebody come with a Belizean birth paper but the person doesn’t talk English; then that would set off an alarm but other than that we didn’t get any training per se to spot fraudulent documents or anything like that.”

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