Immigration officers are essential
The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) is one of the primary agencies for border security for Jamaica, and the Immigration Unit and immigration officers play a pivotal role in that duty. They are the first line of defence and have the critical responsibility of screening people wishing to enter the island.
The agency has had to learn over the years to balance border security with economic and social responsibility. This is done by ensuring that we have the appropriate resources — human and technical — that will ensure that we can screen incoming people properly, quickly, and efficiently at our ports of entry.
Over the years, as the volume of passengers has increased, the agency, with its Immigration Unit/ Operations, has had to find ways to improve its operations without compromising border security. In the last decade PICA has been employing the correct mixture of manpower and technology to ensure its goals and objectives are met. Technology such as the automated border crossing (ABC) kiosk and our Advanced Passenger Information System allow the agency to meet these objectives seamlessly.
As we move forward, based on the limitation of the sizes of our airports, which are required to handle increasing volumes of passengers and flights, PICA has had to continuously look at ways to improve its operations.
Recently we have digitised the passenger declaration form, and this is part of our continuous efforts to innovate. This allows us to receive information and conduct risk assessment before passengers arrive. Based on this information our officers intercept passengers who are persons of interest.
The agency ensures that it maintains its operations in line with global trends, using technology in immigration. With this methodology, officers provide holistic border security.
Our goal is to enhance travel facilitation through a risk-based, data-driven, and targeted inspection system. This will allow us to:
* provide our customers with world-class service;
* ensure that the points of arrival and departure into and out of the country operate at the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness;
* maintain Jamaica’s security and territorial integrity; and
* create a positive work environment for our team members while contributing to their rounded and total development.
Our immigration officers are essential as they provide several critical functions. They are the first point of contact and person-to-person experience for arriving passengers. They are the first-line officers in maintaining security and territorial integrity. Also, our officers are responsible for the delivery of other services, such as extensions, visas, and residence. Every year the Immigration Unit and its officers ensure that people who do not meet the requirements do not enter the country.
Technology, however powerful, is never a substitute for intelligent human observation, investigation, and response. What it does is provide sharper tools and processes to assist the officers in carrying out their functions.
At PICA we are proud that our implementation of new and better services, for example, our e-passports, kiosks, online passenger declaration form, etc have not resulted in increased costs to our customers. We are equally proud that our use of new and improved technology has not resulted in the loss of a single job. Neither is it ever intended to do so.
Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency