Immigration gets ready to ditch the incoming passenger card

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Immigration gets ready to ditch the incoming passenger card

In next phase of border processing overhaul.

The final two components of the Department of Immigration's zero-touch border processing transformation will see the paper-based incoming passenger card abolished and exit marshalling process automated.

Last December the department commenced its tender process for a three-pronged suite of solutions to as part of its 'seamless traveller' initiative.

The first phase will see it replace its existing fleet of smartgates with an automated border control solution that matches travellers against a database of facial images collected from airlines' advanced passenger processing systems, removing the need for travellers to present a passport on arrival.

The tender came shortly after new legisation that changed border crossing laws so all travellers could use a contactless, facial biometric option for border identity verification and processing. The department wants 90 percent of international travellers to be processed by automated means by 2020.

It is now calling for market pitches for the last two components of its seamless traveller initiative.

Immigration wants to replace the physical incoming passenger card (IPC) with an online solution that collects answers to the questions and passes them onto to DIBP systems.

It is currently reviewing the process behind collecting, storing, using and sharing IPC data, while working to reduce the number of IPC questions.

The department has already done away with the outgoing passenger card, and has been pulling passenger information from existing government data since July 1.

It expects the IPC replacement will similarly source data from a number of external channels before the border, such as airline passenger processing systems, to reduce the number of questions it will ask travellers.

The department also wants a separate exit marshalling solution to automatically channel travellers towards either biosecurity checking desks or the exit without requiring “a physical message stick” such as the IPC card.

In doing so it hopes to improve traveller flow and enhance security by reducing reliance on manual checks.

The exit marshalling software will need to ensure that it identifies travellers both individually and in groups, and it must also have a fallback identification function to process travellers that can’t be identified through the primary method.

Immigration also envisages that the solution will “passively identify travellers without requiring their cooperation” whether they are stationary or moving, and be capable of identifying “deliberate attempts to overcome, subvert or circumvent the biometric technology” such as if a person is wearing a mask.

The department hopes to begin trialling both solutions at ports of entry between March and May 2018.

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