Changes to Visitor Visas to Australia

Analysis

Changes to Visitor Visas to Australia

From 23 March 2013, the Government introduced far-reaching changes to the Visitor Visa program, which included the Business (Short Stay) (Subclass 456) Visa. These changes form part of the Government’s previously announced simplification of the Australian visa application framework.

The changes

Changes to Visitor Visas to Australia

From 23 March 2013, it is no longer possible to lodge an application for the following visas:

  • Business (Short Stay) (Subclass 456) Visa
  • Tourist Visa (Subclass 676)
  • Sponsored Family Visitor (Subclass 679) Visa
  • Sponsored Business Visitor (Short Stay) (Subclass 459) Visa
  • Medical Treatment (Short Stay) Visa (Subclass 675)
  • Medical Treatment (Long Stay) Visa (Subclass 685)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (Visitor) (Subclass 976)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (Business – Short Validity) (Subclass 977)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (Business – Long Validity) (Subclass 956).

Individuals who would have previously applied for one of the above visas may have options under the five new visa subclasses outlined below.

The new visas

Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (Subclass 400) Visa

The Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (Subclass 400) Visa allows the holder to enter Australia on a temporary basis to:

  •  Undertake short-term, highly specialised and non-ongoing work
  • Participate in an event on a non-ongoing basis at the invitation of an Australian organisation.

The approved period of this visa will generally be six weeks and, in limited cases, may be up to three months. The applicant must be outside of Australia at the time of application and finalisation of the visa.

The Subclass 400 visa replaces the work entitlements on the following visas:

  • Business (Short Stay) Visa (Subclass 456)
  • Sponsored Business Visitor (Short Stay) Visa (Subclass 459)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (Business Entrant-Short Validity) (Subclass 977)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (Business Entrant-Long Validity) (Subclass 956)
  • eVisitor Visa (Subclass 651).
Visitor (Subclass 600) Visa

The Visitor (Subclass 600) Visa is for individuals who wish to travel to Australia for tourism or business purposes or to visit family. It has four streams:

Business Visitor Stream: for business people travelling to Australia to undertake business activities, such as attending a conference, negotiation or meetings. Work is not allowed under this stream and if an individual wishes to undertake short-term and highly specialised work, they should apply for the Subclass 400 Visa.

Tourist Stream: for people travelling to Australia for a holiday.

Sponsored Family Stream: for people travelling to Australia to visit family.

Approved Designation Status Stream: for people from the People’s Republic of China travelling in an organised group.

Upon approval of the Subclass 600 Visa, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship will confirm the approved length of stay and whether the visa has been approved with a multiple-entry facility.

Electronic Travel Authority (Subclass 601)

The Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (Subclass 601) is for individuals who wish to enter Australia for up to three months for either of the two below:

  •  Tourism
  • Business purposes.

It will allow the holder to enter Australia on an unlimited basis over a 12-month period, with a stay of up to three months on each entry.

eVisitor (Subclass 651)

The eVisitor (Subclass 651) visa is available for individuals who hold a passport from an eligible country and is for people who wish to enter Australia for either of the two below:

  • Tourism
  • Business purposes.

It will allow the holder to enter Australia on an unlimited basis over a 12-months period, with a stay of up to three months on each entry.

Deloitte's view

Deloitte welcomes the introduction of the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (Subclass 400) visa and the clarity this provides in regard to a visa option for highly specialised and short-term work.

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