changes in policy

Visa changes for Chinese nationals set to make it easier to visit and study in Australia

by Ray Clancy on April 15, 2016

in Australia Immigration, Australia Travel

Australia to make changes to visa applications for Chinese people in a bid to entice more of them to visit the country for pleasure and business and to study.

Under plans being drawn up the number of visa categories could be reduced from eight to two to make it easier for Chinese students to study in Australia.

The plan could also see visas for Chinese nationals valid for 10 years and applications provided in mandarin, the first time this will be done in a language other than English.

china

Behind much of the change is a desire to attract more tourists from China who tend to spend a decent amount of money once they are in Australia.

Indeed, figures show that China is currently Australia’s more valuable tourism market, contributing $8.3 billion to the Australian economy. There were more than a million visitors in 2015.

A new $6 million agreement focused on advertising and data sharing has been signed between Tourism Australia and Air China which is also expected to boost the number of people travelling to the country.

“We’re making it easier for Chinese tourists to visit Australia. Eight student visa categories will be reduced to two, to make it more straightforward and easier for students to apply to come and study in Australia,” said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on a visit to Shanghai.

“For the first time, we are trialling applications, visa applications, in a language other than English in Mandarin Chinese. And there will be online visa applications from China, again for the first time,” he pointed out.

“We’re also trialling 10 year validity visas. Again for the first time here in China. This shows the commitment of Australia to strengthen this vitally important tourism relationship and of course it’s a very important part of our economic story. But it is also a key element in bringing our two countries and our two peoples closer together,” he explained.

“The more Chinese come to Australia, Australians go to China, the closer we become together, the better we understand each other, the more opportunities for further engagement at every level. Social, academic, economic, commercial,” he added.

Turnbull has declared 2017 the year of Australian/Chinese tourism, with events and initiatives in both countries aimed at encouraging visitors at either end.

There will also be a new smartphone friendly digital platform which will focus on selling Australia to China’s 700 million smartphone users. “It makes Australia more accessible, more available, more compelling as a tourism destination,” Turnbull added.

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