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13 Mar, 2013

Australia to Cut Red Tape for Visitor Visas


Canberra, Minister of Immigration & Citizenship, 12 March 2013 – Visitor visas will be simplified and a new short stay activity visa will be rolled out this month as part of the Gillard Government’s commitment to cut red tape.

The new visitor visa framework, subject to final approval of the legislation by the Governor-General, 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.

“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,” Mr O’Connor said.

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. The visa will also allow for the entry of people who are invited from overseas to participate in events.

“This new visa is for people who need to come to Australia for highly specialised non-ongoing work on a short-term basis,” Mr O’Connor said. “It is not related to the 457 program for temporary skilled visas and the Government remains committed to strengthening the safeguards to ensure the 457 program is not being exploited by unscrupulous employers to the disadvantage of local workers.”

The visitor visa initiative follows the successful implementation of the simplified skilled and business migration visa group and the simplified temporary work visa group, both of which more than halved the number of subclasses used by the programs.

“The finalised settings took into account stakeholder and public responses to the 2011 Making Visitor Visas Simpler discussion paper which outlined the proposed visitor visa framework,” Assistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting on Deregulation David Bradbury said.

Further details of the new visitor visa group can be found at: www.immi.gov.au/visas/visitor/