Commonwealth Games visa problems solved by Australian immigration

by Ray Clancy on December 22, 2017

in Australia Travel

Concerns about some athletes not being able to apply for a visa for the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018 have been averted with confirmation that a proposed new system will not be introduced.

Immigration officials have made speedy changes to visa application forms so that athletes due to compete in the Games can apply for visas as part of their competition accreditation rather than as a separate, individual application.

Commonwealth Games

(By ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com)

Previously Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs), team managers and Chef de Missions were responsible for visa applications as part of the accreditation process, but for 2018 it was proposed that individuals would need to make separate visa applications as part of a tightening of security.

Critics pointed out that in some countries access to a high speed internet connection to make an online visa application is limited, that a lot of athletes don’t have access to a laptop and some nation’s indicated that it could mean athletes who have qualified for the Games being unable to make it.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) was also told that individual applications would create a series of problems for athletes, team officials and guests, including CGAs potentially being in a position where they were unaware whether athletes and team officials have been granted visas for the Games or not.

However, CGF president Louise Martin has now confirmed that the previous system will be used. ‘What had happened before, every single person coming to the Games as part of a team, they all had to fill in the application forms themselves,’ she said.

‘As you know in different parts of the Commonwealth, they do not have access to the internet or have the ability to fill out everything. Before it had always been the CGAs and the administrative people for each of the countries, who would fill it out. We have reverted to that and they have asked three extra questions on the online form,’ she added.

It has meant that the Department of Immigration has had to change the forms and Martin thanked officials for acting promptly which means that the applications for visas can now be submitted.

‘The Games Organising Committee have been informed that visa applications may be lodged in bulk by the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation, or by individual nation or territory organising committees on behalf of participating athletes,’ an immigration department spokesman confirmed.

Around 6,600 athletes from 70 nations and territories are expected to attend the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast from 04 to 15 April.

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