The Australian government introduced a compulsory collection of biometrics for migration purposes in a number of countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The collection of biometrics is widely used worldwide for migration purposes as a global identity management tool to reduce fraud and integrity risks by Ireland, France, UK, Japan, the United States, Canada, Norway, Israel and countries in the Middle East.
The term ‘biometrics’ refers to the distinctive identification of people where unique characteristics, such as fingerprints, facial structure, the iris, the voice, DNA and behaviour are used to label and describe individuals. In migration, the Australian government collects facial images and fingerprints in the biometric collection during the visa application process to protect applicants from identity fraud, as well as strengthen Australia’s border and national security.
Visa applicants applying from the following countries need to provide biometrics regardless of their nationality: France, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, New Zealand citizens and applicants who apply online and meet the requirements for an electronic visa application and are excluded from biometrics collection.
Biometrics need to be collected when applying for permanent and temporary Family Visas subclasses, student visas and a range of temporary visas, including Tourist, Working Holiday and Business (Long or Short Stay) visa subclasses.
Applicants from the above mentioned countries must lodge their applications in person in one of the Visa Application Centres (AVACs) or Australian Biometric Collection Centres (ABCCs) and provide their biometrics at the same time. All applicants are encouraged to make an appointment in one of the centres and must be attended by each person included in the visa application.
Collection of biometrics is usually a quick and non-intrusive process of capturing a digital photo of the applicant’s face and a 10-digit fingerprint scan. There is no additional fee involved, however the applicant still needs to pay the standard visa application charge.
Children under 15 years of age and people incapable of providing consent require consent of a parent or a legal guardian and only need to provide a facial photograph.
According to the Australian immigration authorities facial images and fingerprint scans are kept on secure department databases. Only authorised migration officers may access the biometrics of an applicant, however the immigration department is also allowed to provide the fingerprints and photographs of applicants to certain Australian Government departments, international organisations and countries in order to combat identity fraud and identify clients with criminal history.
The introduction of the compulsory collection of biometrics would not affect our clients applying for a visa from Ireland, UK, India and Australia, who would only need to undergo a medical examination for some visa categories, such as general skilled migration visa subclasses. For extra information visit Australian immigration website