Mountains of forms? Questionnaires? Filling up Form A to get to Form B only to realize document C has expired?
Visa processing, on the whole, is a laborious task for immigration officials and people alike. Applicants need to repeatedly visit the relevant places for smooth visa approvals and issuance. Moreover, immigration departments across continents have been handling visa processing using basic support technology to gather and analyze tons of data. They generally affirm the information from paper-based visa applications.
Besides, negotiating policy changes, juggling nuances of each client case, and architecting a company’s internal processes – immigration management is painstaking, at the very least. There are always going to be bottlenecks.
So, how can visa processing be streamlined visa processing at every touchpoint? The answer is immigration software.
The number of visa applications is only seeing an uptick every single day. As such, immigration service providers are investing heavily in tools and solutions to fine-tune the movement of people across international territories.
Immigration software has straightened visa processing and enabled people to fill out forms online. Moreover, tech advances – analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), empower immigration firms to offer tailored visa services to people backed by data security.
The world has opened to travel; however, the ease of travel is facing hurdles due to the sheer volume of people applying, immigration restrictions, and security concerns. Therefore, immigration agencies are under immense pressure to usher in an age of true revamp of how they provide visa services.
A Gist of Immigration Software
Immigration software envelopes a digital toolkit that enables the concerned administration to manage immigration-related matters effectively. The technology boasts multiple features, including petition analysis, template building, automated intake process, case management/tracking, and digital document exchanges with digital signatures.
Immigration software consolidates all visa applicants’ data and documents into an integrated platform to slash RFE rates, and thus improve efficiencies. Moreover, it automates and streamlines the procedures involved in visa processing. That way, immigration service providers can focus on value-added tasks – a win-win for them and applicants.
How Immigration Software Benefits Different Stakeholders
The benefits of immigration software can be demonstrated across different end-users: law firms, companies, students, and refugees.
Immigration Law Firms
Over the past few years, digitization has made considerable inroads into all industries, and immigration law firms are no exception. For decades, these establishments processed cases using paper-based forms and hard copies of documents. Additionally, they had to stockpile these records in large filing rooms.
Clerks and secretaries manually entered information, which was time-consuming and error-prone. Cloud-based, tech-forward immigration software is an antidote to these problems.
Thanks to immigration software, attorneys no longer have to perform repetitive tasks, including form filling, data entry, and document tracking. Instead, intelligent process automation looks after those manual jobs, with accuracy.
Immigration software enables attorneys to create forms and documents based on clients’ details in real-time. The task is achievable in minutes – not hours – as this digital paperwork automatically pre-populates using the data entered. If the case demands any further detail, immigration software offers the provision to request more input from the client through notifications.
Better Data Management
Being cloud-enabled, immigration software allows law firms to store and access a gigantic warehouse of client data from virtual storage on demand. Likewise, clients can log in to the systems and fill out their forms online. The outcome is efficient case initiation and processing.
Additionally, immigration software allows both attorneys and clients to check the status of all legal petitions and documents in real time. It devises e-files that house clients’ data and documents in one searchable location. What is more, clients can review and update their personal details.
Furthermore, immigration software keeps data loss and misuse at bay. The technology runs on top-notch access management protocols, so users do not need to worry about security.
Immigration software boasts digital tools that empower law firms to manage cases from any location in a way that suits them. They can access clients’ documents, data, and matter history at their fingertips using device-friendly apps. Hence, they can work on a case even while on the go.
Immigration software links front and back offices to operate as a fully capable platform. As such, it staves off the time spent toggling between tools. As it incorporates diverse administrative features, law firms can manage their everyday tasks in an intuitive manner, all using the same dashboard.
Provides a Comprehensive View
A single, central location for data storage offers attorneys a 360-degree view of existing and future immigration needs. Having the complete matter history flashed in one view and user activities at various levels provide entire progress at a sneak peek. Moreover, immigration software equips law firms with a relevant course of action to acquire benefits for a specific client or the sector as a whole.
Immigration software allows lawyers to add as many relevant custom fields as necessary. That way, they can gather and arrange the information essential for the case and file all forms, templates, and communications to the case history. This provides immigration law firms to enjoy holistic control of their case progress for better clarity and accuracy.
Improved Team Collaboration
Whether offline or online, communication among colleagues is challenging, especially in large-scale law firms. Fortunately, immigration software takes care of the issue effectively.
Attorneys can instantly update the case status and automatically triggers a notification to all concerned stakeholders. Moreover, they can notify their colleagues of missing data or request more data anytime, with zero scope of missing details.
All these considered, several immigration software packages available across marketplaces are effective only at the form level. As such, attorneys still need to do the heavy lifting of examining and processing a significant chunk of forms – 50-60 per petition. Working on visa forms to draft petitions hurts the bottom lines of law firms, draining their money, time, and resources. What is worse, attorneys have to review the final petition comprehensively.
Imagility’s immigration software offers a quicker and hassle-proof way to manage immigration applications. The technology stack automates end-to-end management of immigration cases. Attorneys can utilize the avant-garde solution to auto-fill applicant-related details on all immigration forms to avoid manually keying in repetitive information.
Since data analysis is critical to any law firm, Imagility offers an intelligent dashboard in its immigration software bundle to flash insights on past and existing cases. All in all, Imagility’s offering fast-tracks visa form inspection and helps generate more petitions.
The demand for skilled foreign workforces is surging more than ever seen. Many countries grapple with talent scarcity, low birth rates, a geriatric population, and increasing retirees. Overseas professionals, no doubt, are pillars of their emerging economic structures.
Skilled immigrants fill a critical need in the labor market – especially in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) areas. Indeed, their contributions to the destination countries’ economy help create new jobs and opportunities for both native citizens and immigrants alike.
As such, developed economies are attracting these talented individuals by offering them to settle within their perimeters with social benefits and perks.
Companies are increasingly gravitating toward immigration software to speed up onboarding.
In today’s fast-paced world, staying compliant is non-negotiable for organizations across industries. Compliance helps ensure that all employees perform their duties properly and monitor what efforts are necessary for a smooth business operation.
Talking about compliance with immigration software, companies can use it for various use cases. For instance, they can deploy immigration software that automatically sends reminders when something demands attention. Or they can simply dispatch emails in case of specific situations such as incomplete paperwork or missed deadlines.
Keeping Employees’ Information
Most foreign employees, while applying for a work visa, will either refer to the immigration agency’s or the government’s website of the select country. Immigration software offers access to employees’ complex data, in a user-friendly format, and relevant to their customer journeys. Additionally, companies can share these details with the imported talent (of course), human resources (HR) departments, and notaries from a single integrated location.
Furthermore, immigration software vendors provide web and mobile apps compatible with all web-browsing devices. They follow the up-to-the-minute user-experience principles and take users through the visa application process step-by-step.
Transparency throughout Visa Processing
Many companies face the hurdle of insufficient transparency throughout the visa application process. In addition, lots of back-and-forth communication among multiple officials leads to data loss between procedures. There is no all-in-one platform where attorneys, petitioners, and beneficiaries can collaborate with one another. As a result, most visa petitions are incomplete or not reviewed thoroughly, resulting in RFEs or denials.
Imagility’s robust, comprehensive immigration software helps deal with visa processing with adequacy and knowledge. The industry-leading solution includes customizable matter options and interview questionnaires, billing and timekeeping tools, and native record management. All these features are configurable in an easy-to-set-up, no-code environment.
Robust Record-keeping Efficiency
Apart from companies, employees also confront loads of hurdles while lodging applications for work visas. More often than not, employees get lost in the visa application journey while going through multiple phases of visa processing. They might have to wait 12-14 years to receive a Green Card.
Maintaining visa-related documentation for such long periods can become challenging. Moreover, similar obstacles crop up when sponsoring immigration for loved ones.
Imagility helps applicants accumulate all relevant information and documents in a single platform. Additionally, the company’s immigration software boasts a client management database where applicants can update and customize their details.
Besides, Imagility offers support for Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) visits, akin to law enforcement officials making work site visits and/or visiting applicants’ homes. Such visits are subject to potential errors and inaccuracies. Fortunately, Imagility prides itself in being in the narrow list of immigration software vendors offering FDNS support.
For international students, the past few years have been tough. From COVID-19 to political instability, many had to push back their desire to study overseas. With the situation getting better, several students are applying for visas, putting pressure on immigration officials. But unfortunately, they are tussling with yet another obstacle in the form of delays in visa processing.
With features, such as a user-friendly dashboard, petition building, and complete transparency, immigration software helps students seamlessly apply for visas.
Avoid Visa Delays and Disappointment
Supporting documents are vital for several visa categories in application processes and can sometimes run to hundreds of pages. That amount of paperwork burns out students, demands costly printing, transportation, and storage, and above all, adversely affects the ecology.
Besides, several countries are struggling to keep up with the unprecedented inflow of visa applications.
With logistics, processes, and practicalities around visa delays navigating new and uncharted waters, students are resorting to immigration software to streamline the application process. The interactive platform enables students to upload their supporting evidence for scanning.
Plus, many vendors integrate immigration software with respective government systems. Hence, government partners can see students’ files directly online, optimizing application review and decision-making.
Immigration software, laden with AI, ML, and advanced analytics, helps students assess their eligibility with regard to multiple threshold questions. This is especially beneficial when the concerned administration cannot offer straightforward approval and demand further analysis.
This will help authorities verify a student’s intention to leave their homeland, whether they have adequate resources or the authenticity of their claimed spouse relationship. However, the decision will always require human intervention until immigration software becomes subject to subsequent advancements.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has revealed that about 90 million people had to leave their motherlands due to conflicts, human rights violations, and persecution. Such forced displacements have shed more light on the importance of immigration software than ever.
Digitizing Supporting Evidence
Immigration software helps create digital identities (ID) for refugees, tremendously improving their lives. With these digital IDs, refugees can carry and access crucial documents no matter where they are. In addition, digital IDs offer secure digital document storage for refugees who have to flee their homes without papers (property deeds, health records, and degrees). These digitized documents are accessible from anywhere with internet or mobile access via personal biometric identifiers.
For instance, nearly 7.8 million people have vacated Ukraine since the Russian invasion (as of November 2022). In such situations, immigration software provides an e-wallet for the digital versions of several government documents of refugees, including driver’s licenses and passports. These electronic copies are equally legal as their physical originals.
When it comes to conflicts (internal or external), immigration software is a savior for refugees without physical copies of vital documents.
Trends in Immigration Software – Now and Beyond
The following are the technology trends happening in the global immigration industry:
AI-powered Tools Gaining More Steam
AI’s application and utility are likely to expand going forward, leveling up security and efficiency across immigration offices. Conventionally, the leading-edge solution has been critical in automating tedious visa processing tasks. Now, it is finding use in anticipating the success probability of any application or case using predictive models.
Immigration software – powered by embedded AI – assesses the application details of a case and compares them against previous visa applications. Then, based on the findings, the solution will decide whether or not the case will receive approval. Put simply, immigration software can estimate a person’s odds of making it through the visa application process. That’s an invaluable tool at many levels.
Chatbots to Enhance Customer Experience
Nowadays, operational windows of contact centers play an instrumental role in handling visa-related queries in a jiffy. These visa queries include contact details, rules and regulations, visa categories, and payment processes. At the front line of all these queries, immigration software builds a smoother connection between immigration officials and visa applicants using AI’s potential.
Whether choosing the preferred language or predicting the wait time, AI chatbots capture granular insights from each customer-facing interaction, optimizing call center workflows. A lightning-fast customer service, running on AI algorithms, provides a memorable experience. A case in point is automatically identifying an existing customer’s contact details or grabbing relevant data based on an applicant’s reference number.
Biometrics Beyond Physical Immigration Centers
Today, providing biometric data is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for entering foreign countries. Advanced immigration software is coming with biometrically linked technology that automates various decisions at international borders, including letting people pass through the security gates.
These automated decisions are associated with highly complex and interoperable matrices (such as databases on migration, asylum, or visas) and tied to individuals’ biometric identifiers. Case in point, the EU-LISA system.
Immigration centers using such information have shifted from pure registration to digital identity management. This implies that unique biometric identifiers are connected to people’s biographic details, which can be used to verify them in other environments.
Further, the pandemic-induced impacts are fast-tracking efforts to bolster these digital processes at immigration offices. Better, policymakers can expand the scope of individual information to include health indicators such as proof of immunity.
Safeguards for Immigrants’ Data
As workplaces go increasingly digital, immigration agencies cannot understate the importance of data security. Traditional tools and document warehouses lack the beefed-up security protocols essential in today’s data-driven economy.
While sharing ID information with other participants, such as private establishments makes sense, this can jeopardize the applicants’ privacy. Storing large chunks of highly confidential personal details, including biometrics, raises doubts about their storage and security.
For instance, what if smartphone data entered in one instance could later be connected back to individuals through another database? Ownership is another concern – people in humanitarian settings cannot access their own data or information on the entities where their data is distributed.
Thankfully, immigration software vendors always keep security as a top priority and continuously keep up with the latest security protocols and best practices. While choosing immigration software, governments must give security the attention it deserves. The focus must move from “innovation” to “responsible innovation” – a practice that immigration officials worldwide should follow.
While immigration agencies once showed hesitancy in adopting technology, they have made huge strides by embracing cloud-based immigration software to transform visa processing and issuance. The tech-fueled shift has served as a catalyst in boosting productivity and profitability.
People’s preferences and expectations will keep on changing as COVID-19 subsides. In fact, about a third are planning to make international visits that they did before COVID-19. With visa processing becoming sophisticated, immigration software will be crucial in improving the overall functioning and customer experience. This complexity will only increase as students increasingly prefer foreign lands for further studies as well as developed countries confront labor shortages for specific jobs.
It is exciting to see how subsequent developments in immigration software will reinvent the workflows of immigration offices. This particularly holds true when it comes to their impact in helping manage large, complex visa processes. Therefore, the time is ripe for immigration agencies to partner with vendors that offer suitable, feature-laden immigration software for optimizing visa processing.
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