Australia is continuing to expand the number of visas that can be accessed online with China the latest country to be added to the facilities available on the web.
More people than ever before are visiting Australia from China and the latest figures how that more than 840,000 visitor visa applications were received from Chinese nationals in 2015/2016.
Indeed, the latest projections suggest that at current growth rates the number of visa applications from Chinese visitors will reach over a million by 2018.
The continued expansion of online visas globally means that Chinese nationals are now able to apply online for a visitor visa with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) making the whole process faster and easier.
China is the largest citizenship country for visitor visa applications to Australia and the expansion will offer convenient 24/7 lodgement as well as the ability to check the status of applications online.
This capability complements other visa initiatives introduced for Chinese visitors during 2016, including the trial of a fast track visa service for visitor visa applicants in China which started last March.
Australia also started a trial of a 10-year validity frequent traveller visa for Chinese nationals in December and a trial of an online visitor visa lodgement service in Mandarin through the Department’s service delivery partner in China.
‘It is another boost to tourism while at the same time reducing unnecessary red tape and ensuring we maintain the integrity of our visa programme,’ said Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
This year has also been named as the China Australia Year of Tourism which has been launched in Beijing by Australian Trade and Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo who was accompanied by a delegation of chief executives of seven Australian airports to explore opportunities arising from a landmark open aviation market air services secured in December 2016.
The arrangement removes all capacity restrictions between Australia and China for airlines of both countries and allows airlines of Australia and China to offer unlimited flights to and from any points in Australia and China, including international airports in regional Australia.
‘This is the first time China has signed such an agreement with any country. Capitalising on this historic agreement will drive more Chinese tourists to Australia. The more tourists we can get to Australia, the more jobs will be created. China is Australia’s most valuable tourism export market, with the potential to be worth more than $13 billion by 2020,’ said Ciobo.