Article – New visa measures generate international buzz

24 June 2015
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Announcements made last week as part of the historic China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, recent significant immigration policy reforms and initiatives revealed in the Northern Australia White Paper are already generating positive feedback in international target markets.

The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said amendments to the Work and Holiday visa programme and enhanced Visitor visa products will further foster cultural and tourism exchange while simultaneously facilitating growth in Australia’s northern regions.

“The Coalition Government’s much anticipated Northern Australia White Paper will unlock the immense potential in our northern areas and amendments to our visa programmes will play an important role in this expected growth,” Minister Cash said.

The announcement of a 2016 trial offering 10 year Visitor visa for Chinese nationals (with a maximum three month stay provision) builds on the Coalition Government’s initiatives to realise the enormous potential that exists within the growing Chinese market. This premium product will attract repeat travellers and will cost $1000.

A Mandarin Visitor visa lodgement option will be developed and trialled in 2016. Australia already offers significant Chinese language support for visa lodgement but this new initiative will make it even easier and more convenient for Chinese travellers wanting to visit Australia.

Yet another measure in keeping with the Government’s commitment to streamline processes and cut red tape is the expansion of online lodgement for Visitor visas to Chinese and Indian nationals, with a full roll-out in China expected by the end of 2016, and India in 2017.

Further, in 2016 the Department will trial a fast-track (48-hour) Visitor visa processing for Chinese tourists for a $1000 fee, designed to attract high-value travellers who have the potential to inject substantial funds into the Australian economy.

“China is Australia’s largest and fastest growing source of tourism and importantly these measures further simplify the Visitor visa application process, welcoming repeat visitors,” Minister Cash said.

“These new services will provide fast and flexible travel options to those who require them and will attract high-value travellers who have the potential to inject substantial funds into the Australian economy, in particular Northern Australia.”

Two changes sure to be popular in the Working Holiday Maker space are the ability for all participants to extend employment by a further six months if they are working in certain industries in the north, allowing for a 12 month period of work with the one employer and, for Work and Holiday visa holders, the ability to acquire eligibility to apply for a second visa if they perform three months’ work in tourism or agriculture in the north.

“These two initiatives will provide a significant incentive for such visa holders to visit and work in Northern Australia as part of their 12 month visa and this is expected to result in substantial economic benefits,” Minister Cash said.

Another highly-anticipated measure announced as part of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement is the annual provision of up to 5000 visa places for young Chinese nationals in Australia’s largest capped Work and Holiday programme.

“Set to commence in just a few months, this arrangement will provide young Chinese adults with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Australia through an extended holiday, with the option of undertaking short-term work and study,”

Minister Cash said.

“The interest we’ve already received shows the Government and the Department have really hit the mark with this new scheme and have identified a brilliant opportunity to the benefit of both the Australian economy and Chinese nationals alike.”

“Migration programmes have long played an absolutely vital role in Australia’s social and economic success.”

“These reforms are designed to capitalise on the enormous opportunities that are evident in the growing Chinese market while complimenting initiatives included in the Northern Australia White Paper.”

For further information on these initiatives, please visit

Courtesy of Senator Michaelia Cash

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