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Oct 4, 2017

At Senate, Headaches with Taximen and Queuing Continue

After four sessions, the Senate Special Select Committee finished its questioning of Director of Immigration Diana Locke this afternoon at the National Assembly. Among the first things discussed was the phenomenon revealed last week of taxi drivers holding the numbers for service at the Immigration Department and seeking favour with visitors. Locke discussed a recent case and the department’s efforts to clamp down on it.

 

Diana Locke

Diana Locke, Director of Immigration

“Last week we had a case of a number not showing up; when we checked in the evening and the following day, it showed up. I think it was day before yesterday evening the holder of that number was asked to come into the office to determine where he got the number from. It was a gentleman who was acting on behalf of his wife, and he indicated to us that he got the number from one of his employees who he sent to get it.  His response was it’s either the taxi drivers or somebody he got it from but clearly, he didn’t get it the correct way and so we do know that it’s going on. We’re taking steps to try to track those numbers. Last week, I indicated that we are trying an appointment system – we have some glitches right now because we are having problems with our phone lines, getting in, getting out. That’s something that we are trying to address, but certainly we are aware that it is happening and we are trying to take steps. Every day we come up with something new, we try a different strategy to see how we can counter it.”

 

Elena Smith, Senator for Trade Unions

“How is it that these numbers, though get in the hands of these taxi drivers or security? Is it that when I go there and I am given a number, and I am called into the office – my number is called and I go in, am I not supposed to hand in my number to the clerk or whoever is supposed to tend to me?”

 

Diana Locke

“That is correct. When persons have minor errors or errors on their application and they need to go back to collect, then I believe at that point this is where that is happening. People go out and when they come back in they don’t bring back the numbers and they might not be in sequence anymore because we don’t let them wait until the end of the line. And so they come back in. but sometimes it’s collected in the evening and it doesn’t surface, so we would check everything in the evening, the following day that number doesn’t come in and it turns up two days later.”

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