McDowell to computerise visa service

10 Mar 2006

The Minister for Justice Michael McDowell TD has signed a contract with Siemens Business Services to computerise the Government’s visa service. He said the demand for Irish visas will exceed 150,000 applications this year.

The contract, for an undisclosed sum, will see Siemens computerise the Government’s visa service which is known as the Automated Visa Application Tracking System (AVATS) project and which will be deployed at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Michael McDowell TD said the new system will mean a much faster service for visa applications.

“There has been a huge increase in demand for Irish visas in recent years and demand for Irish visas is likely to exceed 150,000 applications this year,” McDowell said.

“This new system will enable visa applications received in embassies and consulates worldwide to be transmitted speedily to Dublin for examination. It will also provide a comprehensive visa tracking mechanism and will be able to report on trends in visa applications.”

INIS is an executive office within the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The AVATS project is being managed in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs and is expected to be fully up and running in the first half of 2007.

“Since INIS was established last year, it has embarked on a series of measures to improve services across the whole spectrum of its activities and to strengthen the effectiveness of the immigration system. This visa computerisation project is a key element of its enhancement programme,” Minister McDowell said.

By John Kennedy