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Tuesday, 16 May, 2017, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

Australian High Commission in New Delhi issues visa advisory

With the rising popularity of Australia as a holiday destination, there has been a significant rise in demand for Australian visas. The visitor visa applications received in New Delhi during the first quarter of 2017 have increased by 32%, when compared with last year, and the trend appears to be continuing.

"While we acknowledge the inconvenience and frustration that longer processing times can cause, we appreciate your understanding of this issue and your assistance in managing clients’ expectations during this period of growth. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is focussed on these processing times at the highest level, and is directing resources to ensure that processing in India returns to within the published global processing times as quickly as possible," said the official statement.

Irrespective of processing times, however, the Department strongly advises visa applicants not to finalise their travel arrangements until they obtain a visa. The Department recommends that visa applications are lodged at least four to six weeks ahead of the proposed travel date. Even when applying early in line with this advice, applicants should only confirm their travel after their visa has been granted.

To avoid any possible disruption to travel arrangements, we also recommend that our partners apply for their clients’ visas at least four to six weeks before their intended date of departure. Applications submitted electronically by Preferred Agency Scheme (PAS) agents will continue to receive priority, although we acknowledge that some of these applications have also been affected by longer processing times recently.

For applicants seeking priority processing of their visitor visa application, a premium ‘fast-track’ service is available for Indian citizens who lodge a paper application through the Department’s Service Delivery Partner in India, VFS Global. This needs to be requested at the time of lodgement, and there is an additional fee for this service.

It is also possible for agents to contact the Department in New Delhi to seek expedited processing where there are compelling and/or compassionate circumstances, requiring the visa applicant to travel urgently. Such reasons for travel may include family emergencies, but would not extend to planned family events or an arranged holiday. It is important to remember that the Department receives a large number of enquiries from applicants, and unfortunately, responding to progress enquiries or repeated requests for expedited processing diverts resources away from the actual processing of applications.
 
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