Australia's Acting Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, John Cobb, today announced that transit without visa (TWOV) privileges will be extended to countries that have recently joined the European Union.
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will be included, while Malta already has access to Australia's transit without visa arrangements.
The changes, which also apply to Palau, come into effect on 1 November 2005.
'The changes will be of benefit to citizens from these countries wishing to transit Australia on their way to another country,' Mr Cobb said.
'They will no longer need to apply for a visa, provided they have a confirmed onward booking to leave Australia within eight hours of their arrival, and do not leave the transit lounge,' he said.
'The changes also recognise that these countries have had a sustained history of compliance with visa conditions. While there are a range of factors relevant to extending the TWOV facility to countries, a history of compliance with visa requirements is a significant one,' the Minister said.