Australia to crack down on fraudulent visa applications with biometric data

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SYDNEY - Australia will join the global clampdown on fraudulent visa applications by expanding its collection of biometric data to onshore applicants.

Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced the change today, saying it would reduce identity fraud and fraudulent claims.

“We need to make sure that Australia’s toolbox is world’s best practice for dealing with world identity fraud and fraudulent visa applications, which are on the rise,” he told journalists in Sydney.

According to Australian Government sources, biometrics data will now be collected from all applicants for protection visas lodged in Australia, alongside those for most overseas applicants.

The federal government will also begin the phased introduction of biometric data collection for processing offshore visa applications, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The type of data that would be collected includes digital facial images and 10-digit fingerprint scans.

Bowen said this would help establish the identity of protection visa applicants who arrived in Australia often without sufficient documentation.

It would also strengthen Australia’s ability to detect “inconsistent” claims.

“Biometrics is an important tool in our efforts against identity fraud and against fraudulent visa applications,” Bowen said.

Biometric data collection is already pursued in United Kingdom, United States, some European countries and Canada. (ANI)

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