Immigration Dept creates innovation division to drive digital transformation


news The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has formed an innovation division to help accelerate the pace of its digital transformation.

Called the Digital Transformation and Channels Division (DTCD), the new division is aimed to help the department cope with increasing workload by making processes simpler and more effective.

Over the next four years, the DIBP expects the volume of people and goods crossing the country’s border to increase significantly.

The department’s Blueprint for Integration (pdf), projects that air cargo will rise by 54%, citizenship applications will jump by 23% and the number of student visas will go up by almost 17% in that period. The number of people travelling by air and sea is also expected to rise.

New digital solutions will play a “crucial role” in helping manage this growth by making the department’s processes faster, simpler and easier to use for businesses, travellers and traders, the DIBP said.

It further suggested that people want simpler services, and they want to be able to access them anywhere, anytime and from any device.

This is something the new division is dedicated to bringing about, by looking at new ways to drive digital thinking, and ensuring digital projects are user-focused and in line with the government’s Digital Service Standard.

The innovation division “reinforces our commitment to design better and more meaningful experiences for the individuals and businesses who interact with us”, according to Phil Thurbon, First Assistant Secretary at the DIBP, who was writing in a blog post on the DTO website.

The Digital Transformation and Channels Division will work closely with the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) through participation in the government’s Digital Transformation Programme.

Thurbon said two projects are already underway: a system to make it easier to book citizenship appointments and another to simplify imports into Australia.

The Citizenship Appointments Service project has just gone through a Digital Service Standard assessment and is now in the Beta phase.

Additionally, the Simplifying Imports project has just completed the problem identification (‘Discovery’) phase and is now at the Alpha level.

User experience workshops and in-depth interviews with industry stakeholders helped the team identify user concerns and issues when importing goods – in particular that presenting paper permits multiple times is a key frustration.

The department said it is now working with industry partners to define and implement a new service for businesses, while maintaining the requirements and information needed to clear goods.

The department is now focusing on building its digital capabilities to enable “a new digital culture and mindset”.

“We believe there’s always room for improvement and as such, we are committed to finding better ways to deliver our services,” the blog post said.


  1. What is going on under ‘Validating digital identities’ from their Blueprint?
    Fingerprints, iris scans, facial recognition?
    Will their scheme for digital identity be interactive with Health, Welfare, Finance, Justice sectors?

  2. I wonder how accurate the blueprint is – air cargo increasing by 54% in 4 years seems very optimistic.

    …Especially seeing they caught El Chapo :P

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