Australia and Canada work together on business visas

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Australia's immigration minister, Chris Evans, welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's announcement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Week in Lima, Peru that Canada has joined the APEC Business Travel Card scheme as a transitional member economy.

The APEC Business Travel Card "was developed in response to the need of business people to gain streamlined business visitor entry to the economies of the Asia-Pacific region to explore business opportunities, attend meetings, [and] conduct trade and investment activities," according to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

The card allows accredited business people to obtain multiple short-term business visitor entry to participating countries, and is valid for two to three months, depending on individual APEC-member rules.

"Canada's decision to join the APEC Business Travel Card scheme will further assist Australian business people travelling to Canada and also open the way for higher levels of cross-border trade and investment in the APEC region with Canada," Evans said in a press release.

"Allowing spontaneity of travel can help maximise the chances of taking advantage of business opportunities," Evans added.

Evans said there are more than 48,000 active APEC cards, with about 17,000 being held by Australian business people alone.