Immigration Department moves to electronic visa processing

Paperless environment expected to improve customer service

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is considering a move to electronic only visa and citizenship applications.

Annually it receives approximately 4.54 million application lodgements, broken down into electronic travel authority applications (49 per cent), paper visa applications (32 per cent) and online electronic visa applications (19 per cent).

As part of its Systems for People transformation program, DIAC has implemented an ICT enabled Generic Visa Portal (GVP) for processing all types of visas. GVP uses rules engine technology and sophisticated risk based rules algorithms to determine both the amount and type of data needed from a visa applicant. DIAC intends to significantly increase the number of visas lodged on-line electronically to take advantage of this advanced risk based processing capability.

For those aspects of DIAC’s business not covered by electronic lodgement services, there are number of administrative overheads including paper forms, double handling associated with paper applications and a lack of application of modern risk management practices.

It wants to address these shortfalls through a range of electronic channels called e-business. This includes queries on product selection, application lodgement , status checks, and notification of upcoming status changes, such as visa expiry.

“Within these client lifecycle points, electronic channels for application lodgement receive special emphasis, given the significant costs involved in today’s data entry processes and the downstream benefits from moving from a paper to an electronic application environment,” state department documents.

It envisages that all visa and citizenship applications should be entered into a common online front end, whether by the client or through service delivery partners.

According to department documents, this allows DIAC to have appropriate information gathered electronically on each application based on risk criteria held within GVP and supports a total shift of today’s paper based processing to an electronic processing environment.

“e-business should act as key efficiency driver, with the goal of replacing the vast majority of today’s manual data entry efforts and a significant majority of client over the counter contact. It should provide clients with new and improved communication channels, particularly self-service channels, which increase their satisfaction through being able to access services and products at times and locations that are convenient to them,,” state the documents.

DIAC expects the system to go live mid next year.

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