Australian immigration cuts number of visitor and business visa types

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As of 23rd March, the Australian government has reduced the number of visitor visa subclasses from nine to five. Australian immigration minister Brendan O'Connor said it would simplify the system and eliminate red tape.

The changes have been introduced as part of Australia's Visitor Visa Simplification and Deregulation Project. In a statement on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) website, Mr O'Connor says that this is a simplification only and that there will be 'no change to current visa eligibility for tourism, business visitor activities, sponsored family visits and medical treatment and care has been taken to ensure there is no impact on program integrity settings'.

There is one new visa announced; the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) visa (subclass 400) which will allow people to stay in Australia for six weeks for 'short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work. It seems that the new visa might be of particular use for performers and other creative people travelling on tour to Australia.

Nine visas axed

The following visas have been abolished. DIAC will not be accepting any further applications after 23rd March.
  • Tourist visa (subclass 676)
  • Sponsored family visitor visa (679)
  • Business (short stay) visa (456)
  • Sponsored business visitor (short stay) visa (459)
  • Medical treatment (short stay) visa (675)
  • Medical treatment (long stay) visa (685)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) 976)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (977)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (956)

These visas have been replaced with the following

Temporary work (short stay activity) visa (subclass 400)

Cost AUS$145

This visa allows you to enter Australia to do

  • 'short-term, highly specialised, non-ongoing work'
  • Participate in an event or events on a non-ongoing bases at the invitation of an Australian organisation'
  • You can only stay in Australia for 6 weeks
  • You must be outside Australia when you apply

Visitor visa (subclass 600)

Cost AUS$115

This visa is broken into four streams

  • The tourist stream
This stream is for 'genuine visitors' who may come for tourism, recreation or to visit family and friends. You can stay for no more than 12 months in an 18 month period and will need to have health insurance and must leave Australia and apply from outside the country when your visa expires.
  • Business visitor stream
This stream is for businesspeople with 'a good reason for travelling to Australia' such as business research, conferences, as long as you are not paid. You do not need a sponsor but must apply from outside Australia.
  • Sponsored family stream
This is for 'genuine visitors' who are intending to visit their family. You must be sponsored
  • Approved Destination Status stream
This is for Chinese citizens travelling in a tour group and can be booked through a reputable tour company.

Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)

Cost AUS$20

This visa lets businesspeople and visitors enter Australia as many times as they want in 12 months. You

  • Can stay in Australia for three months on each visit.
  • Must apply from outside Australia.

The visa is linked electronically to passports so that it can be seen by immigration staff and airline staff at airports. You can carry out business activities such as research and attending seminars but must not be paid.

Medical Treatment visa (subclass 602)

Cost: in Australia $245 outside $0

This visa allows you to

  • Stay in Australia for medical treatment
  • Study for up to three months (unless you are under 18)
  • Visit Australia as many times as you need for your treatment while your visa is valid

eVisitor (subclass 651)

Cost Nil

You must

  • hold a passport from an eligible country and
  • be outside Australia to apply. eVisitor lets you visit Australia for up to 12 months.

You can stay for three months on each visit. The eVisitor electronic visa links automatically to your passport.

  • All EU countries are eligible countries as are
  • European Economic Area states including Norway, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland.
  • British Nationals Overseas, British Dependent Territories Citizens and British Subject passport holders are not eligible for an eVisitor.
  • You may be barred if you have active tuberculosis.

If you would like to apply for an Australian visa, can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with nearly twenty-five years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.