What is the change? A law passed last year that expands biometrics collection will take effect Tuesday, 16 February.

What does the change mean? Travellers are reminded that the Biometrics Act gives immigration authorities broad powers and flexibility to collect biometric data from all travellers, including minors who are travelling without a parent or guardian.

  • Implementation timeframe: 16 February.
  • Who is affected: Any citizen or non-citizen entering Australia.
  • Impact on processing times: Border delays are possible once the new law is implemented.
  • Business impact: Employees travelling to Australia should be aware that the law provides authorities broad power to collect biometrics or personal identifiers, such as fingerprints, facial images or iris scans.

Background: As BAL reported in December, the Biometrics Act expands and clarifies how biometrics are collected in Australia. Among other changes, the law will grant officials broad discretionary power to collect one or more personal identifiers from both citizens and non-citizens at the border. It will also provide flexibility on what types of identifiers may be collected in given circumstances and permit the collection of personal identifiers from minors, even in cases where a parent or guardian is not present to grant consent. The law received Royal Assent on 26 August 2015 and takes effect 16 February.

BAL Analysis: Foreign employees and other travellers should be prepared to have their biometrics collected when entering Australia.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

MARN: 9683856

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