Monday, January 28, 2013

Suggestion box

Gary Larsen - The Far Side
Since September, I have been undertaking the Identity Card Experience, and I still don’t have one. Well, I do, but it expired last July and when I started the Experience, the nice man at the typing centre punched a hole through the chip and rendered the old card useless.

In order to prevent anyone from falling through the cracks and not getting an ID card, the current procedure is to apply for the card before obtaining a Residence Visa. In fact, Residence cannot be confirmed until proof is supplied that the resident has applied for an ID card. The ID card application is automatically rejected because there’s no residence visa on file. Then, once the visa is in the passport, the applicant goes back to the same typing centre where the original application was made, a scanned copy of the visa is put on file, and the ID card arrives within two weeks.

Based on my experience, I have a couple of suggestions that might make this simple process even more of a pleasure:-

If there is a problem with the application, such as the passport and visa serial numbers held by the Identity Authority not matching those held by the Immigration Department, the applicant should be contacted and advised. It is not helpful simply to tell the applicant that his card will be delivered within two weeks, and then to repeat this lie for three months.

The Identity Authority should ensure that if the applicant is told that someone will speak to him by telephone within a week, then that phone call should be made. Cancelling the entire application two days later “for not performing the required modification within the communicated deadline” is not the way to ensure customer satisfaction. Particularly when no required modification nor deadline were communicated.

One of the reasons why it takes five hours of waiting at the Identity Authority office to learn that the problem lies with the Immigration Department is that up to thirteen of the sixteen available desks are unoccupied. Employees working at the occupied desks should serve customers and not stare vacuously into space, nor fiddle with their bottles of antiseptic hand lotion for ten minutes between each customer.

Someone at the Immigration Department has to type the new passport and visa details into a computer in order to produce the printed sticker that goes into the applicant’s passport. It would be helpful, then, that these records are proliferated across the Immigration Department and Identity Authority’s computers so that out-of-date information doesn’t frustrate the ID card application process.

There is little point in the Immigration Department opening at 0700 if the computers don’t come on line until 0800. The servers are presumably working continuously to process people entering and leaving the country at any time, and it isn’t really rocket surgery to provide Immigration officials access to the database whenever they’re at work serving customers. Whoever pays the Immigration Department salaries would surely appreciate not paying for an hour of non-productive time every day for every employee.

Is it really necessary for updates of Immigration records to be undertaken not at the Immigration Department but at a separate office in the central Post Office?


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