Travellers will be able to use electronic immigration processing gates when departing the country by the middle of next year, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announced this morning.
Currently, Australian, New Zealand, US, UK and Singapore passport holders are able to access the electronic gates upon arrival in Australia, using any one of the 61 Morpho-manufactured terminals in operation across the country’s eight international airports.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is looking to double this fleet by rolling out another 62 smartgates specifically for departures, which it anticipates will be completed by mid-2015.
The gates use facial recognition technology to match a live photograph of the traveller to the image stored on a chip in their passport.
Morrison said the allocation of the gates “will be based on traveller volumes and the identification of areas of risk”.
The new terminals will be funded from within the $600 million in additional money allocated to combating international terrorism announced in August.
“This is about rewarding those travellers who are doing the right thing with more efficient and streamlined travel,” Morrison said. “It will enable us to make better use of the time of our human officers.”
DIBP is also looking ahead to next-generation SmartGate models, and is currently trialling newer Morpho products against terminals made by Portuguese firm Vision-Box as part of a two-year, $8.4 million trial of modern electronic gate technology.
Roughly 20 percent of arrivals into Australia currently use the e-gates, which the Department said will need to reach 90 percent by 2020 if airports are to cope with projected increases in passenger volumes.