The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) are merging to become one organization, to be known as the Australian Border Force.
Originally announced in May 2014, the change is slated to commence on July 1, 2015. Former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison stated that the merger would result to hundreds of millions of dollars in savings and would put the country’s national interests first.
Meanwhile, current Immigration Minsiter Peter Dutton was reported as stating that his goal was to build “a system where criminals are faced with the hardest borders possible, but legitimate traders and travellers are unimpeded by border processes.”
The Australian Border Force will combine the “operational border, investigations, compliance, detention and enforcement functions” of the two existing agencies. The merger is likewise expected to bring about cutting-edge technologies to deal with border protection and immigration.
Apropos to the merger, the DIBP has announced that there will be a number of system outages heading up to July 1.
The DIBP has warned that the scheduled system outages could prevent visa applicants from lodging an online application. Advance notice of the outages will be published by the DIBP on its website. Applicants are requested to submit their application outside of these periods.
As of June 16, the DIBP has scheduled two outages. During these periods applicants will not be able to complete their online application.
The planned outages are as follows:
– 9:00 p.m., June 26 to 8:00 am, June 27 (AEST)
– 7:00 p.m., 30 June to 7 a.m., July 1 (AEST)
Additionally, BPAY will unavailable as an online payment option from 8:00 a.m., June 27 to 7:00 a.m., July 1 (AEST).
The DIBP is expecting an increased number of online visa applications during this period, and this might cause delays in visa processing. Visa applicants are advised to take this anticipated high volume when planning to submit their applications.
Those who will not be able to complete their online application are advised to send their paper application by post to the processing centre responsible for their application.