Some by a little; some by a lot. VAC changes on 1 July 2015

As part of the Federal budget that was handed down earlier this week, it has been announced that most visa application charges will change on 1 July 2015. There is little surprise here as, in general, it is always expected they will rise.

Instead of assigning an arbitrary price, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection have decided to assign an arbitrary percentage. They have categorised changes according to the following: the Consumer Price Index (2.3%), 5%, 10%, 50%, and what they like to call “harmonisation”, which is a nifty term for evening out charges in most cases higher and, surprisingly lower for a select few visas.

The harmonisation policy effects visas that have an offshore and an onshore equivalent. As previously reported partner visas fees increased by 50% to start at $4,630 for the offshore Partner (subclass 309/100) visa and $6,865 for the onshore Partner (subclass 309/100) visa on 1 January 2015. However, previous to this increase there was already a disparity of $1,490 between the two. As of 1 July 2015, both the onshore and offshore Partner visas will be the same charge, starting at $6865. One charge that decreased was the onshore Child (subclass 802) visa, which has come down from starting at $3,520 to $2,370 to be the same price as the offshore Child (subclass 101) visa. Charges for additional visa applicants have also been proportioned and harmonised where appropriate.

The only visa category that was hit with the 50% increase was the Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa under the Significant Investor Visa Stream. It somehow came to be realised that if an applicant has AUD 5 million to invest for a visa, then they would probably not be deterred to pay a little more in application fees.

A nice table of all new charges as of 1 July 2015 is available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website.