People arriving in Australia are now passing through an immigration system that uses some of the most advanced digital technology in the world and adapting to it.
But it is taking immigration staff longer to adapt to the digital world as more and more systems at international airports are automated, it is claimed.
According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), staff are being increasingly moved away from duties that can be automated but on the ground people arriving in the country and leaving should notice little difference.
The DIBP’s chief information officer Randall Brugeaud told a business meeting in Canberra that new technology means that in some cases the department will become ‘virtually invisible’.
He revealed, that over the buys Christmas period some 80% of departing travellers were processed using automated technology. But he also revealed that a major part of the digital challenge is to get staff to behave in a different way and they now have to get used to using multiple skills as more and more technology is brought on board.
New processes will see the testing of a number of new technologies and more are being put in place this year. For example from May this year contactless technology at SmartGates at airports in Australia will be introduced leading to 90% of travellers being processed electronically by 2020.
It means that image matching technology will be replacing paper documents such as passports at airports and a so called ‘no-touch’ policy is now being used at many locations which mean that passengers without issues can go straight through immigration without having contact with a human being.
It will mean that travellers can pass through SmartGates without their passport as the technology will use their live facial image to match it with information stored in the Australian Passport Office’s database or against one that has been previously taken at a SmartGate and verified against an existing passport.
People will still need to carry their passport in case they are flagged for manual processing. The option will also be voluntary and travellers can still opt for manual processing.