July 18, 2014 -
Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection announced that the Australian Visa Application Centre is in operation and collecting biometrics in Colombia for all visa applications.
The existing visa application process for Colombia will not be altered, including the online lodgement service for tourist visa applications.
Instead, the government has implemented the new AVACs to facilitate additional visa lodgement improvements for visa applicants in Colombia, including the introduction of counter services to manage visa lodgement and all related questions.
As part of this process, the department will collect biometrics from all visa applicants, regardless of their nationality, who are applying for a visa in Colombia to enter Australia.
Visa applicants in Colombia will only be exempt from this rule under Australian Government policy.
Meanwhile, all visa applicants in Colombia who mail in their visa application to the Australian Embassy in Santiago, will receive a letter that instructs them to visit an AVAC location to submit their biometrics.
In related news, Sri Lanka will soon launch a new project funded by the Australian government to introduce a new Sri Lankan passport with biometrics to prevent large scale abuse of passports as well as streamline the process of issuing passports, according to The Straits Times.
The International Organisation for Migration-led initiative aligns with joint Australian-Sri Lankan strategies to cut down on illegal migration, according to sources cited in the report.
According to the report, the Australian government has provided 500 million Sri Lankan rupees (S$4.76 million) to fund the project, while the Sri Lanken treasury has contributed an additional 50 million Sri Lankan rupees.