Chinese business visitors and our tourism sector will benefit from increased flexibility offered by new three-year multiple entry visitor visas, Minister for Trade and Investment the Hon. Andrew Robb and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection the Hon. Scott Morrison said today.
Mr Robb said the changes would bring flow-on economic benefits to our tourism industry, including airlines, hotels, restaurants, the business events sector and other providers catering to Chinese visitors.
“Chinese business visitors will now be eligible to apply for a three year multiple entry visa, increasing the prospect of repeat visits to Australia, which would be warmly welcomed by our tourism sector,” he said.
The changes follow the government’s decision to grant increased seating capacity to Chinese airlines to help cater for increased demand during the busy Chinese New Year period in Australia.
“These changes will also support the government’s ambitious trade and investment agenda and increase the opportunities to do business with China. Total Chinese investment in Australia grew more than eight-fold between 2002 and 2012, to $23 billion and we want to see stronger continued growth,” Mr Robb said.
Mr Morrison said such measures are helping to once again open up Australia for business, while maintaining visa integrity.
“China is our largest source of business visitors, representing 18.5 per cent of all applications in the business visitor stream in the first quarter of 2013-14,” he said.
“In the first quarter of 2013-14, China overtook the UK as the top source country for visitor subclass 600 applications, representing a significant opportunity to capitalise on this interest by making the process easier.
“Leading up to Chinese New Year celebrations, in one month alone our posts in China finalised more than 80,000 visa applications,” Mr Morrison said.
Joint media release –The Hon. Andrew Robb MP, Minister for Trade and Investment & The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Details of these new visas have yet to be released, but the intention to make Australia more accessible to visitors from our biggest trading partner is encouraging. A hidden benefit is that unlike visitors from some other first world countries, visitors from China are unlikely to breach visa conditions and overstay and this access is likely to add to an increase in substantive or permanent visas.
As usual, the devil will be in the detail but the initiative is positive in strengthening ties with the Middle Kingdom.