The Australian government has recently announced that it will employ a new visa fee system starting on 1st January 2012. The changes will ensure that the applications are no longer subsidised by tax payers.
It was said that the current applications fees do not cover the cost to the Commonwealth of processing the applications. In the next four years the changes are estimated to generate an additional $613 million in revenue.
From 1 January 2012, student visa application fees will decrease by 5%, thereby increasing the competitiveness of Australia’s international education sector. On the other hand, a range of Skilled and Business visas will see a fee increase of 5% – 15%.
Mr. Bowen said the changes include the introduction of a fee for dependents of visa applications effective from July 2013.
If people are bringing family members with them to Australia, the fee will reflect the additional processing and checks for these family members.
These changes will bring Australia’s visa application charge structures in line with comparable countries. The user-pays approach means that taxpayers will no longer need to subsidise visa applicants.
In addition to humanitarian visas, the vast majority of visitor visas will remain unaffected by the new fee structure. The changes will also affect applications for longer-duration visas and those seeking further visas onshore – effective from July 2013.
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship indicated that there would be an additional charge for people making paper-based applications where there is an option to process the visa electronically.
We need to maintain our IT development with online applications and biometrics collection and checking.
These initiatives will put Australian visa services on a sustainable financial footing, while supporting our position globally as a destination of choice to visit, live, work or study.