Australia announces faster, more convenient visa application for Indians

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Melbourne CBD
The central business district (CBD) of Melbourne can be seen from the area located along the Yarra River called Southbank located in Melbourne, Australia, July 27, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

The government has announced a faster visa processing option for Indians who want to travel to Australia. Starting July 1, all Indian passport holders can opt to apply online for convenience since applicants will no longer be required to travel to lodge a hand-written form for visitor visas.

Online visa application offers benefits like the ability to check the status of applications online through Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s ImmiAccount portal. Applicants can even process electronic payment of the visa application charge through the site.

Assistant Minister Alex Hawke said that the online option would enhance the visitor experience for Indian citizens. “Indian nationals wishing to visit Australia will soon be able to apply for a Visitor visa in a more convenient and accessible manner,” SBS quotes him as saying.

Hawke added that online lodgement for visitor visa applications is an essential move that would be beneficial to Indian applicants who intend to visit as tourists or business attendees. Those who want to visit family members or friends will be benefited, too.

An official statement indicated a significant rise in demand for Aussie visas in India with the rising popularity of Down Under as a holiday destination. The new visa process is expected to result to better outcome to Indian applicants.

Indians can already apply for student, temporary work, training, sponsored family visitor, partner, temporary activity and prospective marriage visa. Resident return and maritime crew are also part of the list.

The announcement comes amid complaints from Indian nationals who face delays in obtaining visitor visas. Starting next month, applicants will be able to check the status of their online application as soon as it is finalised. They will also be able to complete their travel arrangements as soon as possible.

As for how long the online application would take, a DIBP spokesperson said the current processing times for visitor visas range from 48 hours to more than 20 days. The spokesperson explained that it varies on several factors like peak processing periods in particular locations and overall growth in the number of applications.

In the first four months of this year, the department granted over 65,000 visitor visas to Indian nationals. The DIBP spokesperson shared some data to SBS about visitor visa lodgements in India for the past years, which showed an annual surge in the number of visitor visa applications from India.

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