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 axedThe following visas have been abolished. DIAC will not be accepting any further applications after 23rd March.
- Tourist visa (subclass 676)
- Sponsored family visitor visa (679)
- Business (short stay) visa (456)
- Sponsored business visitor (short stay) visa (459)
- Medical treatment (short stay) visa (675)
- Medical treatment (long stay) visa (685)
- Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) 976)
- Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (977)
- Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (956)
Temporary work (short stay activity) visa (subclass 400)Cost AUS$145
This visa allows you to enter Australia to do
- 'short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work'
- Participate in an event or events on a non-ongoing bases at the invitation of an Australian organisation'
- You can only stay in Australia for 6 weeks
- You must be outside Australia when you apply
Visitor visa (subclass 600)Cost AUS$115
This visa is broken into four streams
- The tourist stream
- Business visitor stream
- Sponsored family stream
- Approved Destination Status stream
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
- Can stay in Australia for three months on each visit.
- Must apply from outside Australia.
Medical Treatment visa (subclass 602)Cost: in Australia $245 outside $0
This visa allows you to
- Stay in Australia for medical treatment
- Study for up to three months (unless you are under 18)
- Visit Australia as many times as you need for your treatment while your visa is valid
eVisitor (subclass 651)Cost NilYou must
- hold a passport from an eligible country and
- be outside Australia to apply. eVisitor lets you visit Australia for up to 12 months.
- All EU countries are eligible countries as are
- European Economic Area states including Norway, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland.
- British Nationals Overseas, British Dependent Territories Citizens and British Subject passport holders are not eligible for an eVisitor.
- You may be barred if you have active tuberculosis.