Australia


New Zealand and Australia to make it easier for Chinese people to get visas

by Ray Clancy on April 20, 2016

The government of New Zealand has announced a package of measures designed to make it easier for Chinese people to visit the country and Australia is also making visa changes for Chinese nationals.

The package includes the introduction of eVisas for Chinese nationals applying online and a Chinese version of the RealMe logon service, meaning there is now a complete online Chinese language application process, from registration to approval.

Later this year applicants will also be able to pay for online visa applications using China UnionPay debit and credit cards.

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“China is New Zealand’s second largest and fastest growing tourist market. Last year, over 355,000 Chinese citizens visited New Zealand and contributed over $1.6 billion to our economy,” said Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse.

“The Government has been looking at ways to make it easier for Chinese travellers to visit New Zealand and ensure they have a positive experience when they come to our country. These measures deliver on that by providing an easy, streamlined visa application and approval process for Chinese nationals,” he added.

Other changes already in place to make travel to New Zealand easier for Chinese visitors include doubling the length of the multiple entry visa to two years and introducing a three year multiple entry business visa.

Australia is also set to make changes to visa applications for Chinese people in a bid to entice more of them to visit the country for pleasure and business and to study. The number of visa categories could be reduced from eight to two to make it easier for Chinese students to study in Australia.

The plan could also see visas for Chinese nationals valid for 10 years and applications provided in mandarin, the first time this will be done in a language other than English.

Figures show that China is currently Australia’s more valuable tourism market, contributing $8.3 billion to the Australian economy. There were more than a million visitors in 2015.

“We’re making it easier for Chinese tourists to visit Australia. Eight student visa categories will be reduced to two, to make it more straightforward and easier for students to apply to come and study in Australia,” said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on a visit to Shanghai.

“For the first time, we are trialling applications, visa applications, in a language other than English in Mandarin Chinese. And there will be online visa applications from China, again for the first time,” he pointed out.

“We’re also trialling 10 year validity visas. Again for the first time here in China. This shows the commitment of Australia to strengthen this vitally important tourism relationship and of course it’s a very important part of our economic story. But it is also a key element in bringing our two countries and our two peoples closer together,” he explained.

“The more Chinese come to Australia, Australians go to China, the closer we become together, the better we understand each other, the more opportunities for further engagement at every level. Social, academic, economic, commercial,” he added.

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