Will Australia Outsource Visa Processing?

Abul Rizvi, a former senior official at the Department of Immigration has warned that outsourcing Australia’s Visa Processing will lead to automation and premium services that could compromise the integrity of the system. He is not amenable to the creation of fast and slow lanes for visa processing by private providers due to “frightening” long-term implications.

Rizvi also said he was very concerned about premium services because it could incentivize unfair practices:

“There would inevitably be an incentive for the company to be more facilitative with regard to subjective criteria for applicants who have paid for the fast lane. Any monopoly provider would want to maximize charges for the fast lane and try to drive as many applicants as possible into that lane.”

The chairwoman of the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia, Mary Patetsos is also not in favor of outsourcing visa processing:

“Australia has a long-standing reputation for its impartial, fair and transparent immigration system. It should not be put at risk.”

Patetsos warned that premium services “could undermine fairness”. She said “The opportunity to bring a family to Australia to live or visit for extended periods should be available to all Australians – not just the wealthy.”

Labor’s Shayne Neumann has brought up the national security implications of outsourcing visa processing.

The opposition wants to utilize Senate estimates to further question the government’s plan to outsource the $1 Billion visa processing system.

“The Liberals can’t use this as cover to cut costs and slash jobs,” he said. “The Liberals must fully explain any impacts on privacy and security these changes may have before making such a significant change.”

The Labor party proposed that ministers with links to any of the bidding groups should inhibit themselves from the decision-making process.

Neumann stated “If the prime minister or immigration minister have close personal connections with one of the bidders involved in this government’s attempt to privatize visa processing, they must recuse themselves from the process.”

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