Foreign flyers speed through immigration clearance

The government has instituted one more IT-enabled anti-terrorism measure with the launch of a scheme that allows advance screening of passengers before they board flights into New Zealand.

The government has instituted one more IT-enabled anti-terrorism measure with the launch of a scheme that allows advance screening of passengers before they board flights into New Zealand.

The Advance Passenger Screening scheme was officially launched earlier this month at Auckland airport.

APS allows the Immigration Service to screen passengers prior to boarding a flight to this country. Travellers who are likely to be denied entry on arriving in New Zealand can be identified “and, if necessary, prevented from boarding the aircraft”, says immigration minister Lianne Dalziel.

APS was signalled last year as part of the government’s antiterrorism precautions. As well as alerting Immigration and Customs agents to the entry of suspicious people, being pre-cleared is likely to speed the passage of innocent passengers through border checks, delegates to the recent IT Security 2003 conference noted.

Software for APS is based on the Advance Passenger Processing (APP) systems developed by Australian systems integrator CPS, and modified by it for New Zealand use. APP was introduced by Australia’s Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs be-fore the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

The implementation of the New Zealand APS system was assisted by EDS, which developed a “near real-time system” to extract and send relevant up-to-date information about travellers from the NZIS system to the APP system.

Three million dollars was allocated for the development in the 2002-3 Budget.

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