Australian immigration cuts number of visitor and business visa types

02 April 2013

As of 23rd March, the Australian government has reduced the number of visitor visa subclasses from nine to five. Australian immigration minister Brendan O'Connor said it would simplify the system and eliminate red tape.

The changes have been introduced as part of Australia's Visitor Visa Simplification and Deregulation Project. In a statement on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website, Mr O'Connor says that this is a simplification only and that there will be 'no change to current visa eligibility for tourism, business visitor activities, sponsored family visits and medical treatment and care has been taken to ensure there is no impact on program integrity settings'.

There is one new visa announced; the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa (subclass 400) which will allow people to stay in Australia for six weeks for 'short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work. It seems that the new visa might be of particular use for performers and other creative people travelling on tour to Australia.

Nine visas axed

The following visas have been abolished. DIAC will not be accepting any further applications after 23rd March.

These visas have been replaced with the following

Temporary work (short stay activity) visa (subclass 400)

Cost AUS$145

This visa allows you to enter Australia to do

Visitor visa (subclass 600)

Cost AUS$115

This visa is broken into four streams

This stream is for 'genuine visitors' who may come for tourism, recreation or to visit family and friends. You can stay for no more than 12 months in an 18 month period and will need to have health insurance and must leave Australia and apply from outside the country when your visa expires. This stream is for businesspeople with 'a good reason for travelling to Australia' such as business research, conferences, as long as you are not paid. You do not need a sponsor but must apply from outside Australia. This is for 'genuine visitors' who are intending to visit their family. You must be sponsoredThis is for Chinese citizens travelling in a tour group and can be booked through a reputable tour company.

Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)

Cost AUS$20

This visa lets businesspeople and visitors enter Australia as many times as they want in 12 months. You

The visa is linked electronically to passports so that it can be seen by immigration staff and airline staff at airports. You can carry out business activities such as research and attending seminars but must not be paid.

Medical Treatment visa (subclass 602)

Cost: in Australia $245 outside $0

This visa allows you to

eVisitor (subclass 651)

Cost Nil

You must

You can stay for three months on each visit. The eVisitor electronic visa links automatically to your passport.

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