IBM, Accenture and PwC | Sayers bidding for visa platform

07 March 2021 2 min. read

The race to win the federal government’s overhaul of its ageing visa infrastructure has been trimmed down to a set of three consortia.

Late 2020, the Department of Home Affairs launched a public tender for a “qualified and experienced provider to work with the Commonwealth” to design, deliver and support its new so-called ‘Permissions Capability’ platform. This platform will revamp and digitise the way Australians and visitors access government services such as permits, accreditations, licences and registrations.

According to AFR, consultancies PwC and Accenture are once again among the finalists for the mega contract, alongside IBM which is seeking to design and build the platform on its own. Accenture has again teamed up with Australia Post and Pega to pitch for the 10-year contract, while PwC is partnering with Oracle and new kid on the block Sayers.

Government is preparing an overhaul of its visa platform

Sayers however was indirectly involved in the previous tender, as the firm’s CEO (Luke Sayers) and a number of its partners were at the time at the helm of PwC’s bid. That time round, PwC was part of the Australian Visa Processing (AVP) consortium, headed by former Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh and further made up of Ellerston Capital, Oracle, Qantas, NAB and Pacific Blue Capital.

The tender’s predecessor was abandoned in March last year, embarrassing the Morrison government which had already spent to the tune of $100 million of taxpayers’ money on the initial phases. The plug was pulled due to political concerns around outsourcing of the sensitive visa function and the data of people.

In the new setup, the Permissions Capability platform has been designed to have much less of an outsourcing model at its core. The platform is expected to operate as a separate entity, with the processing to stay under control of the government.

The tender document stipulates that the platform will “handle the digitisation of incoming passenger declaration cards” and host “digital visa applications.” Initially used by Home Affairs, the platform will be scaled to be reused across the Commonwealth, not just for visas.

It is understood that the winner of the highly anticipated tender will be announced within the next week.