Australia launches new pilot visa programme for Indian visitors

A new pilot visa programme has been launched this month to make it easier for business and tourist visitors from India to apply for a visa by allowing them to apply online for a visa to travel to Australia.

Andrew Robb, Trade and Investment Minister said: 'India is one of the world's fastest growing outbound travel markets. This trial will make it easier for Indian visitors to apply for visas to travel to Australia'

The pilot programme enables Indians to make online applications under Subclass 600 as long as the visa application is made via selected travel agents across India. The Subclass 600 visa is for temporary visits to Australia for business or pleasure.

Robb, who was speaking at the Australia Business Week event in India, said that this new visa trial comes under the Australia-India Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism (MoU) which was signed last year during Prime Minister Modi's visit to Australia. The purpose of the MoU is to encourage cooperation between Australia and India to promote tourism between the two countries.

Robb said:

'Under the Australian Government's national tourism strategy, Tourism 2020, India has the potential to contribute between $ 1.9 billion and $ 2.3 billion annually to our tourism industry by 2020. That's why in the first half on 2015, the Australian Government is rolling out a trial of online visa applications to capitalise on this rapidly growing visitor market and create jobs.'