Australia is overhauling its visa processing system, which will see a computer system that is privately operated to automatically decide if certain foreign nationals can be granted a visa to visit or live in the country.
Henceforth, a secure website or a phone app would be used by visa applicants to upload biometric details and information required by the immigration department to a ‘Global Digital Platform’ that will replace its mainly paper-based system.
It is possible to use the system in collaboration with the private sector to link tourists with holiday providers and accommodation and new residents with services of the government.
The documents of the government have revealed details to seek expressions of interest from private companies to aid in designing and operating the system. The Advertiser quotes the DIBP as saying in the document for ‘request for expressions of interest’ that this was a path-breaking opportunity for the market to co-design visa business of Australia and to support the country for attracting travellers and migrants and satisfy its international obligations.
The new arrangements will see the Immigration Department managing directly applications for diplomatic visas and refugee status and take the responsibility for security checks.
It was stated that the system was being launched to assist border protection authorities to handle the increasing number of tourists visiting Oz and permanent and temporary migrants wishing to live in Australia.
But some visa applications would still have to be referred to departmental staff who would take a call after the Global Digital Platform (GDP) processes them.
The tender documents state that where business rules defined by the department do not give the GDP an authority for automatically deciding on a visa application, it should be referred to the department, where an officer will decide whether a visa is to be granted or refused.
It adds that the required capabilities must be provided by the GDP for departmental officials to decide manually to refuse or grant visa applications.
It has been made possible to lodge visa applications in up to 20 languages, as they will be automatically translated.
Via a link to the system, it would allow international travellers booking airline tickets online to apply for their Australian visas.
The system gathers the data, which would have to be held in Australia onshore and the officials would need to have proper government security clearances. The commercial opportunities in addition to savings from the GDP could slowly allow fees for visa application fees to be reduced, the DIBP hopes.
According to the DIBP, the digital platform would be part of wider reforms to the system, including modifications to visa categories.
If you are looking to visit or migrate to Australia, get in touch with Y-Axis, a renowned company for immigration services, to apply for a visa.