Australia has become the latest country to issue 10-year multiple entry visas to Chinese nationals as the country aims to boost the number of tourists heading Down Under.
According to Ecns, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said that after a trial period, the scheme, which has been described as a “game changer” by Australian executives, will be rolled out to all eligible Chinese travelers.
A dedicated Australian visa center opened in Shanghai last June as part of efforts to roll out the 10-year visa. An estimated 80 million potential applicants will be eligible for a visa under the current plans.
“Many countries have relaxed their visa policies for Chinese travellers. For example, some countries like South Korea, Australia, the U.S., and Singapore extended the visas from five years to ten years,” Tourism industry expert Zhang Chuanbo said.
While the exact details of the scheme have not yet been exposed, analysts believe there will be certain criteria for applicants, who will likely be barred from working in Australia and limited to a three month stay per visit.
Applicants will be charged AUD$1000 for the visa in addition to a handling fee of AUD$135. An online Chinese-language express service for processing applications will also be established.