Cablegate: Consular Section Entry-Level Officer Rotation Update: Niv
DE RUEHSO #0626/01 2991949
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261948Z OCT 09
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0009
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0007
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 0005
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 0006
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SAO PAULO 000626
DEPT FOR CA/EX, VO/F/P, WHA/BSC
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CMGT CVIS BR AMGT
SUBJECT: CONSULAR SECTION ENTRY-LEVEL OFFICER ROTATION UPDATE: NIV
REF: A) OIG REPORT NUMBER ISP-I-08-15A, MARCH 2008; B) SAO PAULO 99
1. Summary: In response to ConGen Sao Paulo's 2008 Office of
Inspector General (OIG) Report (Ref A), the Consular Section
assigned an entry-level officer (ELO) to perform the duties of a
non-immigrant visa (NIV) unit deputy on a six-month, rotational
basis. The assignment allows entry-level officers to gain valuable
management experience and exposure to the inner-workings of NIV
administration while filling an important management-level staffing
gap in the section. End summary.
2. According to post volume records in the Consular Consolidated
Database (CCD), Sao Paulo's Consular section was the largest U.S.
NIV processing post in the world in FY 2009. A total of 14 ELOs
adjudicate up to 1,500 NIV applications per day. These officers
are managed by one Consular Section Chief and one NIV Chief, and
are supported by over 40 locally-employed (LE) staff.
3. Despite this heavy visa workload, officers have enjoyed
increased opportunities for professional development through Sao
Paulo's rotation program (Ref B). This program permits each
officer assigned to a straight two-year consular tour to choose
from one of three six-month rotations: NIV deputy; Fraud Prevention
Unit deputy; or American Citizen Services unit officer. The
Section created the ELO NIV Deputy rotation in response to Post's
March 2008 OIG report that recommended the creation of a full-time
FS-03 NIV Deputy position. This solution has allowed the Section
to fill an important void while gaining a better understanding as
to how best utilize the future FS-03 NIV Deputy Officer.
4. The ELO NIV Deputy is primarily responsible for visa line
management to ensure that visa work is completed as efficiently and
effectively as possible. The primary duties include managing the
window allocation and schedules for ELOs, Eligible Family Member
(EFM) biometric clerks, and LE Staff, as well as assisting the NIV
Chief with appointment scheduling, visa waiting room flow issues,
visa corrections and quality control, and training and orientation
of new ELOs and EFMs. The ELO NIV Deputy position also serves as a
key interface between section management and officers, thereby
facilitating communication and understanding up and down the chain.
The ELO NIV Deputy is also responsible for conducting NIV
interviews for half of the day. The first Officer to complete this
rotation did so on September 30, 2009.
5. The creation of the ELO NIV Deputy Position has been a very
positive experience for the Consular Section. The NIV Chief now has
more time to focus on maximizing section productivity,
standardizing NIV adjudications, improving officer productivity,
coaching new officers and LE Staff, and focusing on other
management, human and financial resource issues.
6. The ELO NIV Deputy also greatly benefited from this experience.
The ELO NIV Deputy gained valuable management, leadership and
team-building experience, as well as insight into balancing the
demands of the visa section with the needs of individual Officers,
LE Staff and EFMs. As a peer, the position also required the ELO
NIV Deputy to create an environment that facilitates full
participation and an open exchange of ideas to motivate all
officers towards common objectives. Perhaps most importantly, the
creation of this position has provided another much-needed layer of
management to such a large visa section. Now ELOs, LE Staff, EFMs
and biometric clerks have another point of contact for issues, as
they arise. This frees up the time of the NIV and Consular Section
Chiefs, thereby improving section productivity as a whole.
SAO PAULO 00000626 002 OF 002
7. Comment: The newly-created ELO NIV Deputy position has become an
invaluable position in the world's largest visa issuing post. The
ELO NIV Deputy acquires important skills and experiences that are
often difficult to obtain so early in an officer's career. The
Section now finds itself better prepared for the anticipated FY
2010 assignment of a full-time FS-03 NIV deputy. End comment.