30 January 2012

Kiwi tech company wins New Zealand immigration contract

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A Wellington based technology company has won the race to build a new NZ$80 million (£42 million) system for the New Zealand immigration authorities.

New Zealand visa

The new system will integrate fingerprint technology as part of its new more rigorous checks.

Datacom will build the new system to centralise all immigration decisions within New Zealand and allow migrants and other New Zealand visa applicants to track their application's progress online.

The system is intended to expedite visa applications as well as integrate better technology such as biometric identity checks including fingerprint capture and storage.

Former New Zealand immigration minister Jonathan Coleman confirmed the project's funding last month and the current Labour Department confirmed that contract negotiations with Datacom were well under way.

An inquest in 2007 into how a Thai national employed by Immigration New Zealand was arrested managed to defraud Cambodian residents applying for New Zealand visas of thousands of dollars in 2003 revealed severe flaws within the current system.

The contract was expected to be awarded to an American based company who have carried out similar projects but Datacom's rapid and consistent growth over the past decade saw the Kiwi company awarded the contract.

With approximately 2,000 of its workforce based in New Zealand, the contract is a major coup for the company, whose turnover topped NZ$700 million (£365 million) in 2011.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

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