Government denies stress test report

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) will not perform additional stress tests on its Electronic Travel Authority System (ETAS) prior to the Sydney Olympics.

Ed Eillesteyn , DIMA's CIO, said press reports that ETAS would be urgently tested to ensure it can cope with the increased number of international visitors to Australia over the period of the 2000 Games were untrue.

Killesteyn said ETAS is designed to handle at least 9 million visitors per year - double the number of international tourists expected to visit Australia in 2000 - and would be able to process an estimated 300,000 additional visitors to Australia over the Olympic period.

ETAS allows travel agents to issue electronically stored short term tourist and business visas for entry to Australia.

It was developed for DIMA by Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques (SITA) and CPS Systems.

It has two major components: the Request Capture System (RCS) which sits on SITA's mainframe in Atlanta, relaying visa requests to DIMA; and the Request Processing System (RPS), housed on an RS6000 in SITA's Sydney office, which checks the requests against DIMA's Movement Alert List (MAL) - a database containing information on people of immigration concern to the Australian government.

Subject to the results of this check, ETAS sends authorisation to issue the visa to the travel agent, back over the SITA network.

An Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performance audit on ETAS, issued last month (July), confirmed Killesteyn's view that the system should be able to cater for demand over the Olympic period. However, the audit suggested formal capacity planning analysis would verify its ability.

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More about Australian National Audit OfficeAustralian National Audit OfficeDepartment of Immigration and Multicultural AffairsDIMAElectronic Travel AuthorityNational Audit OfficeRPSSITA AustraliaVisa

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