The government has introduced a faster option for having your visa processed for Indians wishing to travel to Australia. Starting 1st July, all Indian passport holders will be able to lodge their Visitor visa applications online and even monitor the progress of their application. Applicants can also make online payments for the visa application through the Immigration Department’s ImmiAccount portal.
Assistant Minister Alex Hawke said the online application option was targeted at improving Indian citizens’ experience when visiting Australia.
“Indian nationals wishing to visit Australia will soon be able to apply for a Visitor visa in a more convenient and accessible manner,” he said while speaking to the press.
Presently, Indian citizens can submit applications for the following visa categories online:
- Student Visa,
- Sponsored Family Visitor Visa
- Temporary Work Visa
- Training Visa
- Temporary Activity Visa
- Partner Visa
- Prospective Marriage Visa
- Resident Return Visa and
- Maritime Crew Visa
The visitor visa will join this list on July 1, 2017.
The Department’s decision comes in the wake of a myriad of complaints from Indian nationals who felt they faced unnecessary delays while trying to acquire visitor visas when travelling to Australia. Some applicants felt the delay in processing the visas was meant to push them into using the more expensive premium visa service, a claim that was vehemently denied by the Department.
The DIBP attributes the significant rise in demand for Australian visas in India to the country’s rising popularity as a holiday destination.
The online visa application process is expected to become more streamlined and therefore increase its capacity to deliver better service for Indian nationals seeking opportunities to travel to Australia.
Regarding how long it would take to process the online applications, a DIBP spokesperson gave a range of 48 hours to more than 20 days. He explained that this would depend on factors like peak processing periods in certain locations as well as an overall increase in the number of applications.
Reports indicate that the department of immigration granted over 65,000 visitor visas to Indian nationals in the first four months of this year. Some of the data shared with the media by The DIBP showed that there was a significant upsurge in the number of visitor visa applications from India. In the last year alone, for example, the number of applications were almost 230,000 compared to 164,000 three years before.
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