Australian Immigration to change visa fees beginning in 2012 - Skilled workers apply now!

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Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, announced today that the immigration department will implement a new visa fee system starting in 2012. Student visas will see a decrease in visa costs while other visas will see an increase in visa application fees.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said that the new visa fee system will be put in place to ensure taxpayers are no longer subsidising visa applications as the current fees do not cover the entire cost of processing the applications. The new visa fees will go into effect from 1 January 2012.

"These changes will bring Australia's visa application charge structures in line with comparable countries. The user-pays approach means that taxpayers will no longer need to subsidise visa applicants," said Bowen.

Student visa application fees will decrease by 5 percent in an attempt to increase the competitiveness of Australia's international education sector. Fees for a range of Skills and Business immigration visas will increase by between 5 percent and 15 percent.

Additionally, the Australian government will also introduce a fee for dependants of visa applicants. At present, there is no visa application charge if you apply as student dependents.

"If people are bringing family members with them to Australia, the fee will reflect the additional processing and checks for these family members," said Bowen. He also stated the changes are projected to generate about $613 million over the next four years in revenue.

The following applicants will be unaffected by the fee changes:
  • Refugee and humanitarian visa applicants
  • Citizenship applicants
  • Postgraduate research students
  • Australian sponsoring businesses
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