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AUSTRALIA – New Ten-Year Visitor Visa and Other Changes

Effective 19 November, a new Frequent Traveller stream of the Subclass 600 visitor visa will allow multiple entries for business or tourism for up to three months at a time, during a validity period of ten years.

Other changes this week relate to the introduction of the previously announced new Temporary Activity visa framework, and to a new requirement for certain visa applicants to submit a polio vaccination certificate.

Frequent Traveller Stream

For this new stream of the Subclass 600 visa, the visitor must not stay for more than 12 months in any 24-month period, and may not undertake paid work. The visa is valid for multiple entries during ten years. The visa application charge (VAC) will be AUD 1000.

Note that a subclass 600 visa will be cancelled if the holder obtains a temporary work visa such as a subclass 400 visa or subclass 457 visa

The new visa stream is initially available only to Chinese nationals, with a view to progressively allowing nationals of other countries to apply in the future.

Other Changes

Temporary Activity Visas

Effective 19 November 2016, the new Temporary Activity visa framework (see our previous alert) replaces several visa subclasses with new ones.

As a result, the ImmiAccount online application forms for the current Temporary Work (Short Stay) visa (subclass 400) and Superyacht Crew visa (subclass 488) will cease to operate at 7pm AEDT on 18 November 2016.

Any 400 or 488 applications that have not been submitted by that time cannot be lodged, and applicants will then need to complete a new application on a new form.

New Questions on Application Forms

Moreover, new declaration questions are to be added to online visa application forms.

Any application that has a status of “Ready to submit” on Friday 18 November will have its status changed to “Incomplete”, to ensure that the application is reviewed and that any new questions added to the form are answered before submission.

Evidence of Polio Vaccination

Visa applicants, applying from outside Australia, who have spent 28 days or longer in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia or Syria, or in any combination of these countries, on or after 5 May 2014 should provide a vaccination certificate as evidence that they have been vaccinated against polio. Failure to provide the certificate may result in delays processing your application.

This measure is in response to the World Health Organization's declaration of wild poliovirus transmission as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. For further information, please see here.

Action Items

  • Online visa applications should be lodged before 18 November 2016 to avoid having to complete additional questions;
  • Online applications for subclass 400 and 488 visa applications should be submitted before 7pm on 18 November 2016 to avoid having to complete a new application on a new form;
  • Visa applicants, who have spent 28 days or longer in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia or Syria, or in any combination of these countries, on or after 5 May 2014 should provide a vaccination certificate as evidence that they have been vaccinated against polio;
  • Chinese nationals who are frequent travellers to Australia should consider obtaining a new premium ten-year visitor visa to reduce the number of applications they need to submit.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Visa Executive and Newland Chase.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.