The Australian immigration minister, Scott Morrison, and the trade minister Andrew Robb have announced that business visas for Chinese applicants will now last for three years. They will be multiple entry visas allowing applicants to enter and leave the country as many times as they wish.
The intention of the change is to boost trade between the two nations. Until now, business visas have only lasted for one year. Australia has also increased the number of flights between Australia and China in an attempt to boost trade.
Mr Robb told journalists 'These changes will also support the government's ambitious trade and investment agenda and increase the opportunities to do business with China'. He said that the changes would also be likely to boost the Australian tourism industry.
80,000 visas for Chinese business travellers in JanuaryMr Morrison said that 18.5% of all business visitors to Australia came from China in the first three months of this year; more than from any other country. 80,000 Australian business visas were issued in the month leading up to the Chinese New Year on January 31st.
Chinese business travellers are said to have welcomed the changes. ABC news in Australia reported that one Chinese investor, Lu Dongmei, said 'This saves us a lot of time and keeps the unnecessary costs down. It improves our efficiency, making business easier'.
In the same time zoneMr Robb said 'We are just an overnight flight from China. We're in the same time zone. There's a lot there that is attractive from a business point of view'.
He added that the government was intending to introduce three year multiple entry business visas for other countries too.
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