New laws have brought in a trial to ‘fast-track’ Visitor Visas for an additional fee of $1000. The trial is targeting Chinese nationals who want to travel to Australia on short notice, as tourists or business visitors and as a result are willing to pay the additional fee. ‘Priority service’ is already available for Parent Visas which are processed notoriously slowly.
It is expected that many other countries such as India will be added to the list for the fast-tracked processing and the phased roll-out of this service is expected to eventually apply to all countries. It is hoped that the fast-tracked service will encourage and facilitate increased tourism streams to Australia.
However, despite the steep price-hike, there is no actual guarantee that ‘fast-tracked’ visas will be processed within a specified timeframe, or that the visas will be processed more quickly at all. The Department of Immigration has also warned that if there are any issues in the application, such as those relating to character or health, the processing may be further delayed and there is no possibility of a refund if processing is not quicker. The only grounds for a refund will be where the entire visa application charge is being refunded, for example, where invalid requests for the priority service are made.
If you need help applying for a Visitor Visa, contact our experienced migration lawyers on +61 7 3229 4027.