“Simpler visas” Reform of Visitor visas from 23 March 2013

Yesterday, Minister O’Connor announced a new Visitor visa structure as part of DIAC’s “Simpler visas” reform agenda. “Simpler visas” intends to reduce the total number of visa Subclasses by half by 2015.

Subject to final approval of the legislation by the Governor-General, the proposed reforms to Visitor visas will reduce the number of Subclasses from nine to five, and standardise some requirements.

The announcement reads as follows:

From 23 March 2013 the government intends to introduce significant changes to the Visitor and Medical Treatment visas. These changes are subject to the approval of the Governor-General in Council.

We will no longer be accepting new applications for the following visas:

  • Tourist visa (subclass 676)
  • Sponsored family visitor visa (subclass 679)
  • Business (short Stay) visa (Subclass 456)
  • Sponsored business visitor (short stay) visa (subclass 459)
  • Medical Treatment (short stay) visa (subclass 675)
  • Medical Treatment (long stay) visa (subclass 685)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) (subclass 976)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (subclass 977)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – long validity) (subclass 956).

Applicants who were previously eligible for the visas listed above may be eligible for one of the following five visa subclasses below.

  • Temporary work (short stay activity) visa (subclass 400)
  • Visitor visa (subclass 600)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (subclass 601)
  • Medical Treatment visa (subclass 602)
  • eVisitor (subclass 651)

Courtesy of MIA

Administrator’s note:

The background policy document indicates that the policy behind the visitor visas such as ‘genuine visitor’ and the limited and specialist work restriction for business visitor visas will remain the same. The statement confirms that anyone able to qualify for a visitor visa now will qualify under the new visa restructure The changes are simply to reduce visitor sub-classes into more appropriate groups although there does still appear to be duplication of the electronic visas. These changes will come into effect on the 23 March 2013 but as they have been put on the DIAC web-site they are a fait accompli.

More information may be released onto this blog after this date.

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