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Stabroek News

Visa interviews
published: Thursday | November 8, 2007

The Editor, Sir:

While travelling back from the U.S. earlier this year on an Air Jamaica flight I looked around at the other passengers and smiled. For the first time in my years of travel it hit me that the U.S. visa policy appeared to facilitate diversity and seems to give a fair shot to Jamaicans of all backgrounds a chance to see 'foreign'. That is commendable and I thank the embassy for that.

Another commendable thing for which I want to say thanks was the efficiency of their Oxford Road visa renewal system which operated during the typical lunch hours. I was pleased and impressed with the fact that I was in and out of the embassy within 35 minutes two years ago.

Demeaning interview

But what I saw recently bothered my mind quite a bit. I visited the new embassy recently to apply for a visa for a family member who qualified. But my concern is about the somewhat demeaning interview process which is conducted over amplifiers and within the hearing of all the applicants.

I heard people's business which I did not care to know. I saw the embarrassment on some people's faces as they were asked about their earnings, living arrangements, partnerships, children, and the like. I'm sure some people are thrown off by having their business publicised in that manner.

At least at the old embassy, the seats were a reasonable distance from the interview wickets and the content of interviews was not overheard.

I am, etc.,

ROHANE RIGUER

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