Visa fees to increase annually across the board in Australia

by Ray Clancy on May 11, 2017

in Australia Immigration

Visa application fees in Australia are to increase with the Government announcing that is expects to see revenue from the charges increase by almost $200 million.

Details in the just published Budget show that the money made from visa application charges is forecast to increase to $2,275.6 million in 2017/2018, a rise of $190.1 million. Over four years an extra $410 million is predicted.

Australian Money

(Gripfast/Bigstock.com)

Also, from the 01 July visa charges will be index linked which means that they will increase annually in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Visa fees will be indexed annually and rounded off to the nearest $5.

The indexation only applies to the first instalment of the visa application fee for both primary and secondary applicants. Indexation does not apply to the second instalment of the visa fee.

The increases vary from an extra £10 for a student visa to $70 more for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme while the partner visa fee will increase from $6,865 to $7,000.

Treasurer Scott Morrison also announced an annual foreign worker levy of $1,200 or $1,800 per worker per year on temporary work visas and employers sponsoring permanent skilled visas will face a $3,000 or $5,000 one-off levy.

Small businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million will have to pay an annual levy of $1,200 for sponsoring a foreign worker’s temporary visa and a onetime charge of $3,000 for a permanent skilled visa. While for those with a turnover of more than $10 million it will be $1,800 per year and a one-off $5,000 for a temporary and a permanent visa respectively.

The rise has not been welcomed by the tourism industry, which believes that visitor visas are already priced too high. Industry leaders had lobbied for visa fees to be reduced to make them more competitive with other countries.

Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond said it will make Australia one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit. ‘This visa increase is an extremely short sighted move that will make it even more expensive for international tourists to come to Australia. The task of competing against the multitude of other destinations for the international tourist dollar has just become a whole lot harder,’ she explained.

She also pointed out that it will mean less investment in the country as a whole. ‘The increase in visa fees will reduce the international competitiveness of Australia and seriously jeopardise the potential of the sector to boost Australia’s growth and create jobs,’ she added.

Farmers and businesses in regional areas are also displeased with the new levy on foreign workers which they say will impact on their financial viability.

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