The Australian Department of Home Affairs has announced the launch of a new Enterprise Biometric Identification Services (EBIS) system in conjunction with the Unisys Corporation, an American global information company, and IDEMIA, a French security company specializing in augmented identity.
The EBIS system for Australia will employ Unisys Stealth(identity)™ multi-factor identity management and authentication measures, which is one of the most accurate biometric identity management systems in the world.
Employing facial and fingerprint recognition algorithms developed by EIDEMIA, the system will ensure safe and efficient visa and immigration control processing to further enhance the security of Australia’s borders and facilitate legal migration.
The AU$40 million contracts to establish an Australian Biometrics service was awarded to Unisys in March 2018, based on its reputation for developing high-performance, security-centric systems for international companies and governments around the world.
How EBIS for Australia Will Be Used
The Department for Home Affairs in Australia will use the new EBIS system to confirm the identity of both visa and citizenship applicants, as well as visa-not required travelers, by matching fingerprints and facial images of all legitimate travelers.
EBIS also supports iris and voice recognition, but these are not expected to be employed by the Australian system.
The Australian biometrics system is largely being introduced to help support the expected growth in visa applications, applications for citizenship, and border clearances in the country in the next 10 years.
As it allows border clearance staff to quickly verify the identity of arriving foreign passengers, the Australian EBIS system will help to reduce immigration queues, prevent delays, and generally expedite the entry procedure to Australia.
EBIS will also allow Australian border authorities to quickly identify any traveler with a fraudulent identity who is trying to enter Australia.
Unisys stresses that the Stealth(identity) solution allows for high-volume processing and can handle more than 100,000 daily transactions, and can hold more than 100 million records, ensuring an efficient EBIS for Australia.
How EBIS Affects Australian Visa Applications
If anything, the implementation of the EBIS for Australia is expected to greatly expedite the process of applying for a visa to travel to Australia, as it will allow the identification of all applicants to be quickly verified.
Obtaining a visa or travel authorization to travel to Australia has already been greatly facilitated with the introduction of 2 electronic applications for a number of eligible foreign citizens.
Passport holders from 36 countries, including all Schengen Area states, are eligible to apply for an Australia eVisitor online, which allows multiple entries for stays up to 3 months with each entry, and is valid for 12 months from approval.
An additional 34 passport holders from around the world are required to apply for an electronic travel authorization, the Australian ETA. Like the eVisitor, an approved ETA is a multiple entry authorization that allows stays of 3 months within a 12-month validity.
Those planning a trip to the country should check online visa requirements for Australia to find out which visa type is available for their nationality.
The average processing time for both an ETA and an eVisitor is currently approximately 24 hours, but this may be expedited even further after the implementation of the Australia biometrics collection system.