Australian visa outsourcing sparks personal data security concerns

Australian visa outsourcing sparks personal data security concerns

Australian visa outsourcing sparks personal data security concerns

The recent decision by Australia’s immigration department to appoint a single processing partner for migrant visa applications is causing concerns over the security of personal data.

VFS Global was appointed to the job without the normal press releases associated with policy decisions by the immigration authority. Some regard as dubious the apparent lack of transparency involved in selecting a single company to handle biometric, as it creates a virtual monopoly for the international company.

The appointment of VFS Global is, it seems, aimed at outsourcing in order to streamline the visa application process and reduce overlong waiting times. However, concerns are being noted over links to allegations regarding data collection issues first made by the now famous Edward Snowden.

This controversy is the latest among many recent hits on the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Also under fire are the refugee issues of deaths in custody, the state of detention camps and the seeming abandonment of principles as stated by the UN Refugee Convention as it applies to boat people.

Although this may seem a million miles away from the needs of those from other world countries simply wishing to emigrate to Australia for employment, family or any other reason, it’s hardly confidence-boosting considering the present processing delays and increased costs of visa applications. Many localised visa agencies which have previously worked successfully with Oz immigration are effectively marginalised, even although they have served would-be migrants well for years.

Privately, a good number of immigration agents and advisors are angry at the development, both for themselves and for those attempting to go through the visa application process. Service charges to clients are expected to increase by up to 40 per cent, and diplomatic mission-based visa offices may still bear the brunt of the work involved.

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