The Australian High Commission and Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection announced on 16 June 2017 that from 1 July 2017, all Indian nationals will be able to apply for visitor visa online.
Speaking on the development, Australia’s Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Alex Hawke, said that the online application option would make applying for the country’s visitor visa easier for Indians and thus enhance their overall experience.
• According to an official statement by the Australian government, there has been a significant increase in demand for Australian visas in India with the rising popularity of Australia as a holiday destination.
• The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection granted more than 65000 visitor visas to Indian nationals in the first four months of 2017 alone.
• Indians would be able to make the online applications through the department’s ImmiAccount portal.
• The benefits of online lodgement include 24/7 accessibility, electronic payment of the visa application charge and the ability to check the status of applications lodged online.
• The other benefit is that the form could be completed by a third party such as a family member in India or in Australia, a travel agent or a contracted visa application centre with due permission from the applicant.
• The processing time for the visas would also be faster considering both applications and supporting documentation would be made immediately available to the processing office.
• The move would also enable the applicant to check the status of the application online and know immediately when it is finalised.
This expansion by the Australian government in providing the option of online lodgement to Indian applicants is a significant move towards the easier management of a large number of visitor visa applications processed in India.
Speaking on the same, the Acting Australian High Commissioner to India, Chris Elstoft stated that there were more than 265,000 Indian visitor arrivals from July-Mar 2017, an increase of 15.4 percent in comparison to July-March 2016.