Australia calls for bids on biometric platform for passenger declarations, visas

australia border forces

Australia’s Home Affairs Department has launched a call to tender for the installation of a biometric technology system that will facilitate seamless digital passenger declarations and visa processes for persons traveling in and out of the country.

According to a report by iTnews, the government has called on prospective companies to bid for the deployment of the reusable permissions capability platform which is expected to be in use by the later part of 2021. The announcement came just days after the government unveiled plans for what it said was a publicly-funded and -operated digital visa platform.

Both initial systems are expected to launch by October 2021.

The reusable permissions system, it is reported, will help in the processing of incoming passenger information with regard to contact-tracing as countries of the world look to reopen their borders to international flights after long closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The tender document announcing the contract also reveals that the project will be executed under four work orders. The first involves a discovery stage and co-designing and developing the base platform of the biometric system with Home Affairs next year.

Per the second work order, the “actual development and support of the permissions capability” will include user experience, core permissions processing capabilities, supporting capabilities and other components.

iTnews added that in addition to biometrics capturing, user experience components of the system will include a virtual assistant, a scheduling tool and web forms. The processing and supporting capabilities required include customer relationship management, workflow and process automation and “anti-plagiarism.”

While the third work order will be “intended to deliver an integrated and streamlined application experience that facilitates international travel, safeguarding against community exposure to COVID-19 from international travellers,” the fourth will cover the simple visa type, which will include a user-friendly digital application for non-Australian citizens with sets of questions that can be adapted based on risk settings, iTnews further explained.

Potential tenderers have until 18 December to submit their bids, and the government is expected to seal a deal with the successful bidder by March 2021 for what will be a nine-year contract.

The Home Affairs Department has been handed AU$74.9 million (roughly US$53.4 million) by the government for the commencement of the project.

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