Visitor visas will be simplified and a new short stay activity visa will be rolled out this month.
The new visitor visa framework builds on the Better Regulation Ministerial Partnership commitment to cut the total number of visa subclasses by up to 50 per cent by 2015.
“The Gillard Government is determined to cut red tape and make it easier for visitors to understand which visa they need for a short stay visit or work visa,” Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O’Connor said.
The number of visitor visas will be cut from nine to four subclasses and a number of requirements have been standardised.
Visitor Visa – The Four Subclasses:
• Tourist stream: for people travelling to Australia for a holiday, recreation or to visit family and friends. If you apply for this visa in Australia, you must be in Australia when the visa is decided. If you apply for this visa outside Australia, you must be outside Australia when the visa is decided.
• Business Visitor stream: for business people travelling to Australia for a short business visit. This includes going to a conference, negotiation or meeting. The new short stay activity visa enables people to come to Australia to carry out short-term, non-ongoing, highly specialised work, where the skills required are not otherwise readily available. You must be outside Australia when you apply and when the visa is decided. It’s worth noting that this visa will allow you to engage in business activities while in Australia, provided you:
1) Do not work for or provide services to a business or organisation inside Australia or
2) Do not sell goods or services to the public.
• Sponsored Family stream: for people travelling to Australia to visit their family. You must have a sponsor who might be requested to provide a bond. You must be outside Australia when you apply and when the visa is decided. You cannot apply for another visa while you are in Australia.
• Approved Destination Status stream: for people from the People’s Republic of China who are travelling in an organised tour group. You must be outside Australia when you apply and when the visa is decided.
It’s worth noting that this visa class is not related to the 457 program for temporary skilled visa. If it’s your intention to work and live in Australia longer term, then the 457 or skilled visa streams will still need to be followed.
More information available in the video below: