From 19 December 2017, new visa applicants from Australia who were holding a special three-month window will be able to gain entry into the country. This is in place of the normal six-month window.
Australia has invited citizens of seven countries for a special three-month window to return to the country. These include, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burma, China, Egypt, Iran and the Solomon Islands.
For some of these countries visa waiver will now last for a full year.
Will it affect the Australian tour market?
Australia’s Department of Home Affairs announced on 14 December 2017 that visas will now be allowed to New Zealand and South Korea citizens temporarily, as well as some citizens of seven other countries.
The visa waiver will allow people from the seven countries who visit for “generally leisure purposes” to enter Australia and stay for 12 months.
However, some of the visa restrictions will remain – for example in the case of visa denial or overstaying – meaning that there is currently a trade-off between Australian tourism.
It remains to be seen how many people will take advantage of the new visa period. Some of the countries previously exempted from visa requirements have been greatly successful in encouraging visitors to their country. That includes China where domestic tourism has been boosted by at least a quarter since the quota was lifted.
The window is dependent on the individual visa applicant’s individual circumstances and not all countries will be covered.
Will visitors who are in Australia at the moment be granted residency?
According to information published by Home Affairs, “in exceptional circumstances, a visa waiver may be given in place of a visa which is subject to a minimum six-month holiday in Australia.”
This means that if you are currently in Australia, a visa waiver will cover you. This could mean your current visa expires in late December, and you can then apply for residency.
You will have to apply for residency within three months of the visa waiver.
Will any Australians be excluded from this announcement?
Currently, Australia remains one of the most attractive countries for tourism due to the ease of visa-free entry and the frequent visits from many of the tourists visiting Australia, including a broad spectrum of visiting countries that allow their citizens visa-free access to Australia.
Australia has a special 10-day visa waiver for India, for example, and also a three-month visa for visitors from China and South Korea.
Does the announcement affect tourism figures?
Australia experienced 3.6 million overseas visitors in the 2017 financial year.