Barbados is to introduce automatic passport control early next year that will expedite the entry process for some categories of arriving passengers.
The minister with direct responsibility for immigration Senator Darcy Boyce announced this morning that kiosks would be introduced at Grantley Adams International Airport from as early as February to facilitate entry into the island by Barbadians, residents with permanent status and Caribbean Community nationals.
“Among the many strategic initiatives which we expect to introduce in order to improve efficiency is a new border control technology at the Grantley Adams International Airport by February of next year. Fourteen automated passport control kiosks will be installed in the arrivals hall of the airport and will significantly reduce the waiting time of our arriving passengers to the terminals,” Boyce told a citizen induction ceremony for 110 immigrants at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
“We put this system in also to increase our capacity to deal with the ever larger numbers of people coming through the airport, and to do so without having to incur additional charges. We also are putting this system in place so that we can speed up back office processing of information which comes from passengers,” he added.
The self-use technology will be installed by a Canadian-based firm, and immigration and customs officers are being trained to operate the new system, the Government senator said.
The installation of the kiosks is part of a wider plan to upgrade the Immigration Department in order to improve efficiency, Boyce told the new Barbadians.
Immigration officers will get access to some of the latest technologies as well as training in customer service and fraudulent document protection, he promised.
The department is also to be relocated to the ground floor and a section of the first floor of the multi-million dollar Barbados Tourism Investment Inc car park along the Princess Alice Highway in June, more than two years later than initially planned.
He said the department’s current home at Careenage House on Wharf Road in Bridgetown was in dire need of repair, but the workers would first have to move before renovations could begin.
“I will hold each one accountable to make sure that come June, 2017 the Immigration Department can move into a brand new accommodation,” Boyce said.
He did not disclose the likely cost of the pending upgrades.