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Combating People Smuggling and Unauthorised Arrivals

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The department's Intelligence Network

The department's Intelligence Network attempts to combat people smuggling, fraud and unauthorised arrivals in Australia.

The network consists of:

  • National Intelligence Officers
  • Overseas Compliance Officers.

Their role is to collect, disseminate and report information and intelligence relating to immigration activities. The data is maintained in the department's Global Intelligence database, IMtel. IMtel provides departmental officers with real-time access to information and intelligence collected globally. Network activities are supported by analysts in the Canberra-based Intelligence Analysis Section.

Onshore Intelligence

There are 18 National Intelligence Officers deployed in State and Territory Offices to collect, analyse and report on people smuggling, trafficking and irregular migration. The officers are placed at key ports (air and sea) and work closely with other Australian government agencies on a regular basis.

Offshore Compliance Operations

There are over 30 specialist compliance officers attached to key posts overseas to identify, respond to and counter immigration fraud and malpractice. Compliance officers also work closely with local police and immigration officials to combat people smuggling, trafficking and irregular migration.

IMtel – The department's Global Intelligence IT system

IMtel was successfully deployed to Australian diplomatic missions in May 2006. IMtel allows immigration intelligence to be stored electronically and accessed by authorised department staff both, in Australia and overseas. The Australian-made software provides powerful analytical tools and reporting systems to support the department’s work.

ALO network

The Airline Liaison Officers (ALO) network is another important part of the strategy in place securing Australia's borders.

The department has located a number of Airline Liaison Officers at international airports that have direct flights to Australia. ALOs are specialist document examiners. They work closely with airlines, immigration and airport staff at major overseas airports to:

  • prevent travel to Australia of potentially inadmissible passengers
  • facilitate the travel of genuine passengers.

ALOs assist airline and airport staff in document examination, to check for irregularities in passengers' documents. They also provide training to host nation immigration authorities, and airline and airport security staff on Australia's entry requirements. Although airlines decide whether to allow passengers to board their intended flight, these decisions are often made following ALO advice regarding the authenticity of the passengers' travel documents.

By maintaining a visible presence at international airports, ALOs act as a deterrent to people smugglers and passengers who are inadequately documented. As part of the international cooperation to combat people smuggling and irregular migration, Australian ALOs and their counterparts from other Governments participate in short-duration multi-national exercises held at select airports overseas. Their aim is to stop passengers who have irregularities in their travel documents.

The ALO program is a flexible initiative generally involving, the short-term placements of officers for three to six months. Besides maintaining a number of formal placements, the ALO program has the capacity to respond at short notice, sending officers to undertake traditional or modified ALO duties for a brief period in areas of concern.

Last reviewed Wednesday 27 August 2014