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Australia sees number of visitor visas rise



Australia continues to be popular with visitors from all over the world with the latest figures showing that more than 3.1 million visitor visas were granted in the 12 months leading up to the end of March.Immigration News

Australia continues to be popular with visitors from all over the world with the latest figures showing that more than 3.1 million visitor visas were granted in the 12 months leading up to the end of March.

Australia continues to be popular with visitors from all over the world with the latest figures showing that more than 3.1 million visitor visas were granted in the 12 months leading up to the end of March.

The number of visitor visas granted to tourists and business people was up almost 6% compared to the previous year with interest from Asia being particularly strong.

Indeed, the number of tourist visa applications from China was up 22% to more than 380,000 applications, while applications from Malaysia were up nearly 26% to more than 187,000 and those from India up 19% to more than 102,000.

There was a 7.9% increase in tourism visitor visa applications in 2013/2014 to 2.8 million compared with the same period in 2012/2013 when they were 2.6 million.

The United Kingdom remained the largest country for visitor visa applications to Australia with 464,369 visa application lodgements, up 3.9% from the previous financial year when there were 446,978.

There were 335,095 business visitor visa applications lodged in the first quarter of 2014, an 8.6% decrease compared with the same period in 2013 when it was 366,805. Officials said this may be attributable to visitors wishing to undertake short term work and applying for the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity — Subclass 400) which is not covered in this report.

Some 132,813 tourist visas were granted under the Approved Destination Status (ADS) scheme in 2013/2014, which was stable compared with same quarter in 2013. 232,599 non-ADS tourist visas were granted, a 37.9% increase on the same quarter in 2013.

On 31 March 2014, there were 233,494 visitor visa holders in Australia, a 5.6% decrease compared with the same period in 2013. The report also outlines some key initiatives of the visitor visa programme including the introduction of a three year validity, multiple entry visa for Chinese business visitors to enable them to engage in important bilateral trade and investment activities, along with the opening of new Australian Visa Application Centres (AVAC) in additional countries, including India, in June 2014.

The overall increase may be due to changes made to the visitor visa programme from last year, aimed at making it easier to apply. Additionally, the expansion of online visitor visa applications in May 2014 means it is now possible for visitors from an additional 51 countries and regions to apply for their visitor visa online.

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