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Applying for a visa to Australia becomes less burdensome

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) implemented a number of changes towards simplifying the process of lodging a visa application for Australia. The purpose is to allow more individuals to have access to broader scope of visa subclasses as well as to lessen the burden of paperwork involved in making an application for visa to Australia. Several of the strategies are effective immediately.

For example, applicants wishing to apply for a parent visas now have access to streamlined courier service and all applications will be processed in Perth, Western Australia. It will no longer be possible to lodge a parent visa application in person. This new amendment will ensure consistency in application of Schedule I criteria which is applicable at time of lodging a visa application. In person lodgement method has also been removed for prospective marriage and partner visas.

Further change to the visitor visa policy allows new individuals holding certain passports to lodge an application without the need to apply for the visa via a travel agent. This includes Indian nationals. Those travelling from China are still covered in Schedule 5 of the latest legislative instrument which specifies the agencies that are authorised to apply for a visitor visa on behalf of an individual.

Generally an application for a visa to Australia is somewhat of a burdensome process involving copious amounts of paperwork. Accordingly, DIBP is currently reviewing information which is currently required at lodgement of an application in order to simplify the process.

Effective 18 November 2017, subclass 457 visa applicants will no longer be required to provide evidence, or a letter from an insurer, confirming their health insurance coverage as part of the visa application process. Applicants will simply be required to indicate, as part of their online application form, that they have made adequate arrangements for health insurance for their intended period of stay in Australia. The online visa application form has been amended to reflect this requirement.

Applicants with extensive travel history are also given concessions. For applicants with extensive travel histories (for example, individuals who have very regular short-term overseas travel for business purposes) completing the travel details table in the online application form can be quite onerous, particularly where they are unlikely to reach the 12 month or more cumulative threshold that would require a penal clearance. As a result, the Department will now only require skilled visa program (including subclass 457) visa applicants to manually enter the details of particular countries in ImmiAccount, where the 12 month or more cumulative threshold is likely to be met. DIBP has nonetheless indicated that full travel history should nonetheless be provided in a separate document and attached to ImmiAccount.

With immediate implementation of the above mentioned strategies we should hopefully see a significant reduction in processing times across a number of visa subclasses. A word of caution to potential visa applicants, DIBP generally assesses applications based on the information available at the time of decision. There is no guarantee that case officers will request further information for incomplete applications which could result in a refusal of a visa. Your SCA consultant can assess the prospects of a visa application to ensure it meets any applicable regulatory requirements whilst simultaneously simplifying the process of lodging an application.

SCA Connect provides free online visa assessments for prospective applicants wanting to travel to Australia. To complete an online assessment on your eligibility for an Australian visa, please click here.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute immigration advice. For more detailed and case specific information or advice, please contact SCA Connect.

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