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RMIT and BCAMP partner to deliver pandemic preparedness course

by Ngoc Hoang

Introduction

RMIT Vietnam has partnered with the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security and Australian Department of Home Affairs to support pandemic preparedness across Southeast Asia through a course being delivered online for the first time to immigration and border control staff.

The Border Control Agency Management Program (BCAMP), will take place from mid-July until the beginning of August, and will see 52 immigration and border officers at the forefront of international efforts to reflect on border closures, prepare for the resumption of travel and improve readiness for future pandemics.

The program will explore four key themes over four weeks, covering challenges faced by immigration agencies, best practice during COVID-19, reopening borders, and preparations for future pandemics, with a focus on building skills and connections between immigration stakeholders.

Project Detail

RMIT BCAMP Program Manager, Anita Dodds said COVID-19 has challenged immigration and border operations around the world.

“While we previously realised that diseases don’t recognise borders, we were not prepared for the scale, rapidity and far-reaching impact of this pandemic.”

“As we continue to manage the crisis, this course provides an opportunity to pioneer a flexible, online program to review the experiences of immigration and border control agencies across the world, with a view to improving future pandemic preparedness,” Anita said.

Since 2010, BCAMP has provided specialised training for immigration, border and customs officers from the ASEAN countries and Timor Leste under a partnership between the Australian Department of Home Affairs, Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and RMIT University.

In their usual face-to-face setting, BCAMP participants benefit from expert advice from senior immigration managers and industry stakeholders.

The newly introduced online delivery mode will include over 20 high-ranking executives from national immigration authorities in Asia, Europe and Australia

United Nations’ agencies including the World Health Organisation and the International Organisation for Migration will also contribute.

First Secretary (Immigration) at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, Anthony Kneipp is responsible for spearheading the initiative for the Australian Department of Home Affairs. Mr Kneipp acknowledges the important role of immigration and border operations during the pandemic.

“During COVID-19, the role of immigration and border operations has shifted from facilitating legitimate travel to restricting cross-border movements in an effort to minimise the spread. We now need to proactively plan for safe and secure movement of people when our borders reopen,” Kneipp said.

“I know the lessons learned will enable upskilling and continue strengthening regional partnership, resulting in a more collaborative approach as we pursue regional improvements in pandemic preparedness and response.”

Over the past 10 years, over 450 alumni from 12 countries have graduated from the 22 BCAMP training programs already delivered in Vietnam and Cambodia.

RMIT Head of Hanoi Campus Phillip Dowler commended the significant impact of the programs over the past decade.

“The BCAMP network has achieved a strong foundation of trust which enables impressive cross-border action, collaboration and information sharing,” he said.

“This long-running initiative is a prime example of the cooperation between Australia, Vietnam and all of ASEAN to address problems of regional magnitude.”

This article was originally published on RMIT News.

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