The Turnbull Government has committed $95.4 million in the 2017-18 Budget to support new technologies for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to bolster the prosperity of the nation and to protect Australia into the future.
In a world of mass mobility, Australia needs to modernise its visa processes to facilitate economic growth and strengthen intelligence measures at the border to counter security threats.
This work has begun with the abolition of the 457 visa programme and strengthening the requirements to attain Australian citizenship.
This Budget provides $59.9 million over four years to enhance biometric storage and processing capabilities to contribute to a safer border and a safer Australia.
Australia is committed to being a world leader in innovative border measures to protect our community and facilitate trade and travel.
This funding will enable high volume biometric matching, storing, analysis and data sharing of facial image and fingerprint biometrics through the introduction of new technology.
The improved capability will allow more efficient detection of individuals of a security, law enforcement or immigration interest while simultaneously speeding up the flow of legitimate travellers.
This builds on the $99.2 million allocated in last year’s Budget for a Visa Risk Assessment capability to enable risks to be considered at visa application before an individual reaches Australia.
Implementation of the upgraded biometric capabilities will commence from 1 July 2017.
Increased use of automation and technology is vital to facilitate rising numbers of travellers. Each week the Australian Border Force (ABF) processes more than 700,000 people arriving in or departing from Australia and this number is expected to increase by about 20 per cent over the next few years.
To deal with the increasing number of movements the Government will initiate a long-term programme of work to enhance the visa system.
The Government will provide $35.4 million over the forward estimates for DIBP to engage with the market to explore new technologies to help design and build a visa processing platform that will better manage risk, increase efficiency in processing and improve the visa applicant experience. As an interim step, the market will also be used to outsource client enquiry services, bringing onshore work that is currently delivered overseas.
The 2017-18 Budget also brings into effect the Coalition’s election commitment to introduce a new temporary sponsored parent visa, which provides for a stay of up to five years in Australia.
Australia’s permanent migration programme for 2017-18 will remain at a ceiling of 190,000 places.
Regional Cooperation Arrangements to combat people smuggling and irregular migration will be allocated $52.6 million for the International Organization for Migration’s work in Indonesia.
In line with the Coalition’s commitment to increase the number of refugees resettled under the Humanitarian Programme in 2017-18 there will be 16,250 places in the programme, 2500 more than this year’s intake.
Included in the increase to the Humanitarian Programme this Budget sees the implementation of Australia’s commitment made at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York last September to expand the Community Support Programme for sponsored refugee resettlement to 1000 places.