Now, Aussies plan to seek biometrics from visa applicants
Will visitors from SL be targeted initially

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Will Sri Lanka be one of the group of countries, which are to be the initial ‘target’ of an Australian initiative to deny undesirable elements from reaching Down Under through legal routes.

A spokesperson for the Australian High Commission yesterday told The Island that Australia was in the early stage of implementing a plan to collect biometrics data from all visa applicants, irrespective of nationality.

The official said that the plan would be implemented worldwide on a staggered basis, though they were yet to announce the countries, which could be accommodated initially.

Responding to a query by The Island, the official said that the proposed system was similar to that of the British implemented a few years ago.

The latest issue of Asia Pacific Defence Forum carried a brief AFP news item, quoting Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith as saying that Australia would delay naming the countries where visa applicants would need to give fingerprints and face-scans. Stephen admitted that ‘diplomatic effort’ may be needed with their governments. The report quoted Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as saying that Australia planned to fingerprint and face-scan visitors from about 10 high risk countries in a bid to combat extremism, which is now a permanent threat.

Diplomatic acknowledged that tough measures had to be taken to stop illegal immigrants in the wake of human smugglers stepping up operations. Sources said that, while fingerprinting and face scanning could strengthen their efforts to prevent undesirable elements receiving visa, stopping ships carrying would be immigrants posed a major challenge.

Both Australia and Canada are targeted by organized criminal gangs running major human smuggling rackets.

animated gif
Processing Request
Please Wait...