Australia Strengthens Bonds With India: Extended Visas and Faster Processing
Indians visit Australia for various educational and business purposes, for which they must hold a valid visa. Travellers on business will now benefit from an extensive validity period under the recently formed “mobility and migration agreement,” enabling more frequent commercial exchanges and partnerships. Meanwhile, the visitor visa (tourist stream) will remain valid for three years.
Australia has significantly advanced its commercial relations with India by granting extended validity for multiple-entry business visas. Due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia and the improved trade relations between the two countries, these visas now have a five-year validity period instead of the previous three.
Steps Were Taken to Enhance the Relationship
Australia has also made it simpler to apply for visas to accommodate the growing number of Indian tourists. With India becoming Australia’s fastest-growing inbound market, the number of tourists has increased and surpassed pre-Covid 2018-19 records. Australia had an astounding 3.7 lakh tourists from India between June 2022 and May 2023, an increase of more than 2%.
There has been a striking 73% decline in temporary visa applications, from over 600,000 on June 30, 2022, to just over 161,000 on June 30, 2023. During the Jobs and Skills Summit in September 2022, the government pledged over $36 million in funding to hire 500 more visa-processing employees to help support this beneficial development. The following are the steps taken by a mutual understanding of the Australian and Indian governments:
- Direct flight services have been developed to increase travel and communication between the two countries. In 2019, Air India operated seven weekly nonstop flights. There are 22 such flights, with Qantas providing additional service. With more frequent service on the Delhi-Melbourne and Bengaluru-Sydney routes, Qantas hopes to boost the number of nonstop flights each week to 25 by the end of October.
- Indian tourists’ spending in Australia has increased significantly because of these initiatives and the tightening of trade links between Australia and India. Indian visitors spent about 2 billion Australian dollars (around Rs 11,000 crore) in the year ending March 2023, up a significant 16% from the same period in 2018–19, said Tourism Australia.
- Visits to friends and family make up the majority of Indian travellers’ journeys to Australia, accounting for 61.7% of all travel. 13% of all travel was for vacations, while 8.6% was for work. And 16.7% of the visits were for other purposes, including jobs, education, etc. With about a lakh Indian students studying in Australia and over 10 lakh people of Indian ancestry living there, relations between the two countries are only getting stronger.
- Australia Marketplace India, the country’s largest-ever trade event, was held in Bengaluru with Tourism Australia’s recognition of the expanding significance of the Indian market. More than 210 people attended the event, including more than 100 people from Australia, which helped to promote travel and business between the two nations.
- The quantity of pending applications for temporary and immigrant visas has successfully decreased for the department, returning them to pre-Covid levels. The number of applications now in process for all nationalities as of June 2023 is almost 40% fewer than the nearly 1 million applications in operation as of June 2022.
- The government has also included funding for visa processing officers in the budget for 2023–24. The work to improve programme delivery will continue with an additional $48.1 million over the next 12 months. After filling every open job, the staff actively assist with temporary and immigration visa processing.
- An enormous increase in visa finalisation proves that the efforts to simplify visa procedures have been successful. In the fiscal year 2022–2023, the department successfully processed about 8.3 million visas, an astonishing increase of 190.3% over the year before (2021–2022).
The department maintains increased activity and staffing levels to ensure quick processing and prompt completion of visa applications to satisfy the growing demand for visas. These procedures intend to make the visa application process easier and more effective for people who want to move to or visit Australia.
Benefits of the Extended Visas and Streamlined Processing
Australia has made tremendous efforts to simplify the visa application process for Indian tourists, making it easy and quick. The following are the advantages you will get with this:
- No in-person submission of biometric data is necessary,
- You can submit your visa application online in its entirety.
- No longer required to buy a ticket or reserve a hotel room before applying for an Australian visa
- There is no requirement to simplify Indian guests’ travel arrangements.
India is at the forefront of Australia’s international alliances. Both governments agree that there is room for increased cooperation in various fields. Australia and India have signed a substantial Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement (MMPA), creating a new standard for collaboration on immigration issues. In addition to introducing a new mobility pathway, the MMPA confirms the current visa choices that permit travel and migration between the two countries. These options encompass students, travellers, businesspeople, and other professionals. The Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES), a novel route, is intended exclusively for recent graduates and early-career professionals from India. You should search “Migration agent near me” on Google to hire a professional to help you with immigration.