Australian visa applications for short-term business trips increased to over 120,000 applications in the last quarter of 2011, recent figures show.
An Australian visa in the 456 subclass, also known as the short term business visa, allows the holder to stay in Australia for three months and carry out a range of tasks such as attending conferences, delivering presentations and investigate business prospects.
Australian immigration figures showed an 11.4% increase in applications between September and December 2011, meaning that applications for 456 visas now account for 14% of all visa applications.
Despite the increasing number of 456 visa applications, grant rates remained at 97.3%. The biggest increase came from Chinese applicants, with almost 21,000 lodged from China alone.
An immigration spokesperson claimed the increase reflected the “strong business ties between China and Australia.”
The rise in applications is being attributed by some to Australia’s stable, growing economy and abundance of natural resources which are attracting international investors to the region.
However, others claim that the proportional change is due to the fall in the number of foreign tourists visiting Australia; the slumping Euro and uncertain Dollar and Pound have resulted in volatile times for an Australian tourism industry which relied on international visitors.
Props to the good folks over at the Visa Bureau who contributed this article