Tourism

This new visa applications tech will change the game

Lauren Croft

Paper is out and Robo Cops are in – especially for the Aussie Immigration department, who’s paper-based system is set to go through a major shake-up.

Because Australia is a pretty popular place to live, the number of tourists visiting as well as the amount of migrants has been growing astronomically – and border protection can no longer keep up.

Enter magical new technology to help them and the Immigration Department cope.

The department currently handles all Visa applications itself – but are planing to introduce a Robo Cop “that can automatically determine whether some visas should be granted,” according to The Advertiser.

The tree-saving initiative will completely overhaul Australia’s visa processing system, via a privately run computer system – which will automatically decide whether foreign travellers are allowed to visit or live here.

Ready for the craziest part? Visa hopefuls will be able to upload all their info and biometric details – like fingerprints or eye scans – to either a secure app or website. Amazing.

The deets were released in some official government documents – which were seeking out private companies to help not only run the system, but design it too.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the market to co-design Australia’s visa business and to support Australia to attract travellers and migrants and meet its international obligations,’’ the Immigration Department said in the “request for expressions of interest” document, according to The Advertiser.

However, the good ol’ Immigration Department will still handle sensitive cases, like those of refugee status, diplomatic visas and all security checks. Plus, some visa applications may still need staff approval, even after being processed by the Global Digital Platform (GDP).

“Where department-defined business rules do not allow the GDP to automatically determine a visa application, it must be referred to the department for an officer to make a decision whether to Grant or refuse the visa,’’ the documents also read.

“The GDP must provide the necessary capabilities for departmental officials to make manual decisions to grant or refuse visa applications.’’

 Applications will be able to lodged in up to 20(!) languages and be auto-translated.

The GDP is set to be part of a range of new reforms to the Immigration system, so stay tuned for more, folks.

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