Australia sees 20% increase in arrivals post visa simplification

In mid-2017, the Department of Home Affairs (HA), formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, extended online lodgement of visitor visa applications to all Indian nationals.

The online application process provides a more convenient option for Indians looking to visit Australia, by allowing them to apply for their Australian tourist visa within the comfort of their home, without any biometric requirement or physically submitting their passport to the Department.

In an age where travellers are increasingly self-reliant in planning and booking holidays, the e-lodgement facility allows tourists greater independence when planning a trip to Australia and has proved to be a strong catalyst for boosting tourist arrivals from India. Since the introduction of this new visa system, arrivals from India to Australia have surged by 20 per cent.

“Australia has a long history of innovation in its visa services. The expansion of online lodgement to Indian applicants is an important step in managing a large number of visitor visa applications processed in India. Processing times for these visas are now faster, as both applications and supporting documentation are immediately available to the processing office,” said Tania Gerlach, Chief Migration Officer, Department of Home Affairs.

“Travellers today are digitally savvy and are increasingly habituated to a click or a tap to accomplish most tasks each day. Since the digital medium is now widely used in all aspects of travel planning, we see the introduction of online visitor visa lodgement as a progressive and innovative measure to ease travel logistics. In addition to destination delights to woo potential tourists, ease of access is usually seen as a catalyst that drives decision making. Going digital for visa facilitation is a huge convenience for travellers and further strengthens the appeal of Australia in attracting a higher share of visitors from India,” said Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager – India, Tourism Australia.

Consumers can conveniently apply for their Australian visitor visa through the Department’s Immi Account portal. Online visa lodgement offers benefits such as 24/7 accessibility, electronic payment of the visa application charge and the ability to check the status of applications lodged online.

With the applicant’s permission, the online form can be completed by a third party such as a family member here in India or in Australia, or HA’s contracted visa application centre, VFS. Many travellers opt to use the service offered by key travel agents to do their online lodgement.