The Ministry of National Security has been allocated $72 million for overtime for monthly paid workers in this year’s fiscal budget with the Immigration Department receiving $8 million says Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon.
Asked where the remaining $64 million in overtime goes during yesterday’s meeting of the Standing Finance Committee looking at the 2018 fiscal year’s budget, Dillon referred the meeting to the breakdown in the estimates. However, he said, “a combination of vacancies and high absenteeism” are main reasons for the overtime, particularly in the Immigration Division.
For instance, he said, various crews in the division work additional hours due to the shortages of staff created by officers reporting sick at ports of entry. The establishment provides for 569 immigration officers with 366 of the positions filled. There are 203 vacancies.
While recruitment is underway for the filling of the vacancies, Dillon said, processing of applications by the service commissions takes some time. Immigration officers working at the Piarco International Airport, he said, account for the highest paid for overtime. In terms of the application and processing of passports, Dillon said that some 30,000 have been processed and are at the Passport Office waiting to be uplifted. Notices have been sent out to applicants, he said. Overtime is not an issue at the Passport Office, he said.