Australian customs and immigration merger means increased technology

by Ray Clancy on January 21, 2015

in Australia Immigration, Australia Travel

The merging of Australia’s Customs and Immigration departments will lead to the introduction of cutting edge technologies to deal with border control and immigration.

These are expected to include advanced analytics, biometrics, CCTV and traveller border clearance as well as facial recognition technology to identify travellers from CCTV feeds. It will also analyze data from both immigration and customs systems.

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Cutting edge technologies to deal with border control and immigration will be introduced this year

Once these new services have been put in place, the responsibilities for running them will be handed over to the IT division under the merger, which will see the department become a single agency from 01 July this year under the name of the Australian Border Force.

It will also mean new websites for people to find information about immigration and visas and a number of jobs lost as the departments are merged. But currently, details will remain the same until nearer the merger.

“The Australian Border Force will draw together the operational border, investigations, compliance, detention and enforcement functions of the two existing agencies. Policy, regulatory and corporate functions will combine within the broader department,” said a Department of Immigration and Border Protection spokesman.

“These changes do not have any immediate effect on visa or citizenship applications or processes. Your existing application or any new application will continue to be processed in the same way,” he explained.

“The department will continue to assess applications according to our service standards. Applicants should continue to use the contact details and application numbers provided by the department or case officers. The contact details for the department have not changed. There are no immediate changes to service centre locations,” he added.

Senior immigration managers and their new colleagues from Customs have been undergoing assessments for several months and there is talk of a crackdown on social media use.

“Staff in both the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Customs and Border Protection have been engaged in an ongoing process of assessment and feedback. The future organisation structure and placement of staff is in development and will be communicated with the SES in early February,” said a spokesman.

The immigration department has seen 600 jobs lost in the last 12 months and Customs reduced its staff by about 158 in the 2013/2014 year. Hundreds more job losses are expected as the two merge.

 

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