Chinese nationals can now be issued 10-year multiple entry visas to Australia, thanks to new plans initiated by the Australian government.
It extends the recently announced three-year arrangement, as part of the new Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China (ChAFTA), with the initiative expected to boost repeat visits from Chinese travellers.
More than 200 million Chinese people are expected to be travelling to destinations including Australia by 2020, with the number of Chinese arrivals to Australia in the year to February topping 877,400 – up 18.4 percent on the previous year.
The 10-year visas represent a major breakthrough for the Australian tourism industry, Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF), according to CEO Margy Osmond.
“China is one of our fastest-growing and largest visitor markets and this new visa will make it even easier for Chinese to visit Australia and support our tourism industry,” she said.
The initiative also includes ‘Work and Holiday’ visas for Chinese citizens, with up to 5,000 available annually.
From day one of the ChAFTA, more than 85 percent of Australian goods exports will be tariff free, rising to 95 percent on full implementation. Tariffs on many Australian manufactured goods including pharmaceutical products and car engines will do.
TFF has long-argued that the introduction of 10-year multiple entry visas will not only reduce processing costs, but would also encourage repeat visits from Chinese business travellers and tourists, as well as making Australia more competitive internationally.
“Today’s announcement follows other positives steps by the Federal Government to recently introduce three-year multiple entry visas for Chinese visitors and online application forms,” said Federal Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb.
Australia has also recently simplified student visa processes to boost its international education sector.
“The SSVF will support the growth of the international education sector by enhancing both competitiveness and integrity while extending streamlined processing to all education sectors and all course types,” said Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Education and Training.
Both the USA and Singapore are already offering 10-year multiple entry visas for Chinese nationals.