Have you ever complained about the CI Immigration Department, the waiting, the hassle, the overall tediousness of getting the permit? Then I have something to share with you.
Imagine this: a small smoky hallway with pieces of battered furniture, overcrowded with people who have never grasped the idea of queuing so you literally have to fight for your spot and use any means to defend your position in the uncoordinated mass of people, elbows and heels being the preferred weapon. Welcome to the Balkans. South-East Europeans are warm and personable. They take any opportunity to hug and peck each other on the cheek. I can still remember the shock horror on my boyfriend’s face when a big Montenegrin man gave him a big hug and three big kisses simply because he was happy to see him.
Having lived in that neck of the woods for a few years, I had my fair chance of applying for various work permits myself. I always dreaded the “permit renewal day”. Queuing in what resembles a rugby scrum, trying to keep at least a breathing space – any hope of a personal space is out of question – I waited and waited and waited until I was the closest person to the immigration officer’s door. As I was reaching for the door handle full of hope, I would normally be shoved away by someone confidently walking past me and everyone else because they are the ‘family’. This would naturally be followed by an hour or so of silence while the family emergency is discussed over several coffees and a pack of cigarettes. Once I got in, an unhappy immigration officer with a full ashtray on his desk would tell me that my paperwork is not the right one as they just changed the procedures that very morning. No, no prior announcements. And granted it’ll be different tomorrow. And again the day after. With no official list of requirements, no website, no public notifications, you are literally at mercy of the clerks and momentary state of mind. And the process goes on and on until you finally succumb and decide to stop reasoning and using the thinking part of your brain and simply follow whatever you are told and pray for the best.
Having done that, to me Cayman Islands Immigration is amazing! Err.. most of the time anyway. They have a website, a list (albeit long) of required documentation, an online system, and professional staff. Have you actually been? You should check it out, they even have chairs!
PS – All of you not persuaded by my article, don’t despair. Contact us and we’ll handle the frustrations of immigration for you so you never have to worry about your work permit again.