Australian Immigration plans to implement new biometric border clearance system

July 30, 2015 - 

Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection is moving ahead with its plan to overhaul the customs and border process for incoming and departing travellers by introducing a new solution, according to a report by IT News for Australian Business.

Last July, the then-Customs service – which is now part of the Department of Immigration – announced it was hoping to implement a new border clearance system to provide a faster process for processing legitimate travellers and more effective flagging risks.

The proposed system would be able to determine whether a traveller is allowed to enter or leave the country through air and sea ports.

If the rollout is successful, the department would expand the system in the near future to also provide clearance processing for vessels and cargo.

Last year, the department assumed two separate proofs-of-concept to test out various biometric technologies and implementation methods in conjunction with Accenture and Unisys.

The PoCs ran for four months to this past March, and proved to be successful in helping the agency put together a business case for the new capability.

The tests helped to establish the exact specifications for the agency’s current approach to market for a systems integration partner to implement and roll out the solution, which was published last week.

According to a Immigration spokesperson, Accenture and Unisys will both be able to bid for the contract.

The new border clearance system will offer planning and scheduling, integrated process automation and case management, identity resolution and master data management, and a console for the remote monitoring and controlling of biometric e-gates.

The new platform will essentially replace the agency’s existing three legacy systems, including its passenger analysis, clearance and evaluation (PACE) system; its CAPS resource scheduler; and its BAGS system for recording bag check results.

By integrating with the agency’s existing Quintiq software for planning and scheduling and Pega software for case and process management, the border clearance platform will be able to match a passenger’s personal and biometric information against international watchlists and department risk profiling as soon as they book a ticket or apply for a travel Visa.

The system will then assign each traveller with a risk profile and respective treatment plan which will state how easily they can pass through border clearance.

The Department of Immigration now has the authority to access details from airlines about passengers leaving the country prior to their departure, as a result of a new bill that went into effect earlier this month.

Immigration said it hopes to secure a systems integration partner by December 2015 for a March 2018 completion date.

Previously reported, Australian government announced it will invest more in biometric border controls and a national biometric database.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.