Wanted: two deputies to lead Immigration's visa systems reform

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Wanted: two deputies to lead Immigration's visa systems reform

'Once-in-a-generation' opportunity.

Fresh from winning $35 million in the federal budget for new visa processing technologies, the Immigration department is on the hunt for two executives to lead its digital-based transformation of visa services.

The budget funding was allocated to technologies that can “better manage risk, increase efficiency in processing and improve the visa applicant experience”.

It is intended to allow the department to explore the creation of a new online visa processing platform.

The agency already has the legal grounding to allow travellers to enter and leave Australia with facial biometric authentication, rather than a passport.

It has also recently starting building a $99.2 million visa risk assessment capability that can identify potential concerns when individuals apply for a visa, and before they land in Australia.

And its new 2020 strategy indicates it is considering using artificial intelligence to automate visa assessments and passenger and cargo clearance.

But Immigration's 2014-15 ICT strategic plan revealed the agency was supporting one external and three internal visa systems, making it difficult to be cutting-edge at the front end.

It has been working to standardise on one and migrate and decommission the others.

The agency is now looking for two first assistant secretaries to helm its visa systems transformation efforts.

The successful applicant for the head of visa delivery transformation role will lead the design and delivery of the visa services reform, including creating a "new business model for state-of-the-art digital service delivery, including negotiation of commercial arrangements with private sector partners".

The head of technical visa transformation is tasked with managing the technology part of the reform, and delivering "new enabling technologies that span the visa, intelligence and biometric technology" streams.

Immigration also received $59.9 million in the budget for new technology in "high volume” matching, storing, analysis, and sharing of biometrics like facial images and fingerprints.

"This is a once in a generation transformation of our visa and citizenship business," the agency said in its recruitment ad.

"It will fundamentally transform our business to deal with risks of volume, cost and complexity."

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