Work-permit digitisation delayed as system falls short
The digitisation of the work-permit application process is up in the air after a $112,000 system failed to operate as hoped, senators were told.
The immigration automation digitisation project was designed to hasten the process for work-permit applications.
Answering questions during this morning’s Senate session, Leslie Robinson, the Junior Minister of Economy and Labour, said the Microsoft Dynamics System purchased for $111,880 “does not fully satisfy the expectation for full automation of all applications processed by the Department of Immigration”.
She was unable to provide a timeline for when the project would be rolled out.
Robin Tucker, a One Bermuda Alliance senator who wrote an opinion piece in The Royal Gazette last month calling for urgency on the digitisation project, said she was “surprised” to hear it had not progressed given it had been in trial for several years.
Ms Tucker said: “I would like to know, where are we with looking at other systems? When can we expect to be able to progress this, because we have heard consistently over the last few years about how we have to aggressively deal with our work-permit processing challenges - with everything being manual and delayed.
“I recognise they are trying to deal with the delay issue; however, the manual process is quite a cumbersome process and we have waited with bated breath as to when we will see progress in this area.”
Ms Robinson responded: “A business analyst is reviewing the project to recommend a way forward. Once he has done that work, we will know how to move forward.”
She also revealed that two consultants had been hired for the Department of Immigration’s digitisation project at a cost of approximately $245,000.
In the 2021 Speech from the Throne, the Government announced plans to digitise and automate immigration application processes.
Jason Hayward, economy and labour minister, announced Phase 1 of the project was expected to launch in March 2022.
This March, he promised that applications, which have been taking two to three months, would be processed in less than three weeks.
He told Parliament he recognised the importance of guest workers getting their work permits in a reasonable time and pledged to speed up the process.