From today, Chinese nationals can pay an additional $1000 to have their visa applications for a Visitor visa in either the Tourist or Business Visitor stream, fast-tracked.
As part of a trial to speed-up visa-processing for those who need to travel to Australia on short-notice and can afford to pay for the priority-processing, the department of immigration has announced that it will start fast-tracking such applications but did not commit to a minimum processing timeframe.
The department of immigration says there is no regulatory requirement that the application be decided by a particular timeframe despite the promise of priority processing and accepting the payment of $1000.
“While the Department will endeavour to make a decision within a shortened timeframe, there is no guarantee of a faster outcome, as issues such as character and health matters may delay processing” noted the department’s explanatory statement for the Legislative Instrument – F2016L00295
If an application fails, the DIBP states that “No refund will be available unless the visa application charge is being refunded. Invalid requests for this priority service, for example applicants holding passports not specified under the Regulation, would receive full repayment of the AUD1,000 fee.”
The department said that processing times for Visitor visas, more generally, will not be affected by this service.
The instrument currently provides for passport holders from the People’s Republic of China who are applying for a Visitor visa in either the Tourist or Business Visitor stream. It may be extended to other countries. The Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia recommended a number of key visa initiatives including this trial of a priority service for eligible Chinese nationals seeking to visit Australia.
Source: Migration Alliance