Datacom wins contract for 250 immigration call centre jobs

The Home Affairs department has outsourced 250 call centre jobs to international IT firm Datacom despite union fears the move could pose a security risk.

Immigration services based in Britain, Canada and Sydney will move to Adelaide in a decision Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says will reduce wait times.

The move will cut 250 Home Affairs jobs and has drawn fire from the Community and Public Sector Union, which says the three-year contract will devastate workers and give the government less value for more money.

Peter Dutton announced the Home Affairs department’s contract with Datacom on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

The majority of the job losses will be at Immigration’s Sydney Service Centre where more than 220 departmental employees took calls about visas, citizenship and responded to other compliance queries.

Two overseas centres, provided by Immigration to cover different time zones, will also lose work to the private sector.

Home Affairs department boss Michael Pezzullo said last year the work of a centre in London employing 20 workers and another in the Canadian capital Ottawa where 12 people worked, would go to private players.

The offices take calls from a wide base of users, including businesses with inquiries about sponsoring overseas workers, and have traditionally been an entry point for public servants to get a start working with the department.

Budget papers last May revealed the department was to downsize by 250 but provided no details on where the axe was to fall.

But Mr Pezzullo told his public servants in his post-budget address that the call centres were to go private.

“The Budget will result in the call centre functions performed by the Department in Sydney, London and Ottawa being outsourced,” he said.

“The change to a private provider is still at least 12 months away, and in the meantime we need to continue the valuable work that is performed at these centres in supporting Australia’s economy and our national security.”

Datacom will begin the work in full by mid-2018.

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