Australia introduces new visa risk assessment

The Australian Government has announced that it will establish a new Visa Risk Assessment (VRA) capability within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to better assess terrorism and criminal threats to Australia.

The Coalition committed AUS$99.2 million in last week’s Budget to establish the VRA capability which will enable risks to be considered at visa application stage, before individuals even reach Australia’s borders.

The VRA capability will consolidate a wide range of immigration and border information in real time enabling broad ranging threat identification and automated risk profiling.

It will ultimately aim to provide earlier identification of visa applicants who may pose a risk to national security and threat to the Australian community.

At the same time, it will speed up processing of visa applications for the vast bulk of travellers including those wishing to live and work in Australia.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, said the VRA capability would complement and enhance existing risk assessment and intelligence capabilities.

“The terror attacks in Paris in November 2015 and Brussels earlier this year demonstrate the increasingly complex threat environment we’re now facing and further emphasises the importance of tight border control policies and capabilities,” he explained.

Once established, VRA will:

– Support strong national security and protection of the Australian community; and

– Allow visa officers to focus on higher risk cases.

“It is critical that our border personnel are armed with the right tools to keep Australians safe,” the Minister added.

Article by David Fuller