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Immigration reform

Transforming Australia’s visa system

Transforming Australia's visa system

The Government has tasked the Department with transforming Australia's visa system to make it easier to understand, easier to navigate and more responsive to our economic, social and security interests.

Australia's visa system has served us well, but it needs modernising to meet the future needs of rising traveller volumes and complex risks at the border.

Public consultations

Public consultations on visa simplification in 2017 comprised a broad program of engagement with industry, sectors of the community, international partners, and other interested parties. The Department released a policy consultation paper to support the public and other stakeholders in developing their response to the visa simplification process.


During the public consultations, the Department received detailed responses from across the community and industry, which have provided valuable input towards the system’s design. A summary of these consultations is now available.

Submissions have been published on our website, unless withheld at the submitter’s request.

Service delivery reforms

The Department has begun work to enhance the way we deliver visa and citizenship services, using the latest digital technologies to make it more efficient and easier to use for applicants, businesses and our staff.

This is a long-term program of transformation of Australia's visa system and how it is promoted and delivered around the world. The purpose of this transformation is to pursue the Government's priorities of a strong economy, strong national security and a cohesive and prosperous society.  It does not involve privatising Australia's visa system or decision making.

As a first step, the Department released a market consultation paper Delivering Visa Services for Australia in June 2017, seeking input from potential market providers to explore innovative solutions for a new visa service delivery business, including new technologies to help design and build a global digital visa-processing platform. This process closed on 23 July 2017. 

Following the market consultation paper, the Department released a  Request for Expression of Interest – Delivering Visa Services for Australia – Bundle 1 (REOI) on 22 September 2017.

The REOI closed on 27 October 2017.

The Department also published a Request for Information – Assessments Against Visa Criteria on 12 January 2018 on AusTender, seeking information from the market about innovative ways of undertaking assessments against visa criteria in a more streamlined and automated way.

Between September 2017 and July 2018, the Department completed the first three phases of the REOI - Delivering Visa Services for Australia – Bundle 1 process including:

  • Paper-based REOI responses
  • Scenario design and  evaluation
  • Co-design.

On 7 December 2018, the Department released the Request for Tender (RFT) Delivering Visa Services for Australia - Global Digital Platform to the respondents that had participated in the Co-design phase of the REOI.

  1. RFT 22/17 - B1 - Phase One - Parts 1-5
  2. RFT 22/17 - B1 - Phase One - Attachment A - Statement of Requirement
  3. RFT 22/17 - B1 - Phase One - Attachment B - Evaluation Process and Evaluation Criteria
  4. RFT 22/17 - B1 - Phase One - Attachment C - Tender Response Forms
  5. RFT 22 17 - B1 -  Phase One – Attachment D - Draft Agreement (to be issued as part of Phase Two Documentation)
  6. RFT 22/17 - B1 - Phase One - Attachment E - Glossary
  7. RFT 22/17 - B1 - Phase One - Attachment F - Deed of Confidentiality

The RFT is the next step in a multi-stage procurement process for the Global Digital Platform (the Platform) that will underpin far‑reaching modernisation and enhancement of Australia’s visa and citizenship framework and how it is delivered around the world.

The Platform will support:

  • attraction to Australia of potential visitors, students and migrants (including through repeat visits and/or progressing through different visa pathways)
  • matching of skilled migrants to identified employment opportunities
  • visa application processes
  • visa decision making workflows
  • an integrated, end-to-end, whole-of-life applicant management system that delivers improved user experience and information provision for the complete range of departmental users, including visa and citizenship decision makers and the Australian Border Force
  • compliance with visa conditions.

The Department will at all times:

  • determine business rules establishing all workflows on the Platform
  • remain accountable and responsible for all visa decision making
  • continue to be responsible for national security and risk assessment
  • continue to receive all Visa Application Charge revenue
  • have full access to all Platform data and operations.

Further information about Immigration Reform is available at: Reforms to modernise Australia's visa system—Q&As.