Singaporeans to have access to a six-year visitor visa, and a Work and Holiday visa

As part of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s trip to Singapore last week, and in a joint media release with the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Singaporeans wishing to enter Australia for business or pleasure will soon be able to apply for a Visitor (subclass 600) visa which will allow them to stay in Australia for three months at a time over the period of six years. This is set to begin on 1 January 2018, and is designed to further strengthen ties between the two countries.

Of course, this is not as long as the Frequent Traveller stream visa, available to Chinese nationals and approved for a duration of 10 years. In general, the Visitor (subclass 600) visa, despite what some may think, do not have set duration periods. The regulations for granting visas provide visa lengths “for a period” or “until a date” specified by the Minister, meaning they have the discretion to grant a Visitor visa according to any special circumstances of the application. The exception is the Frequent Traveller stream which can be granted up to a date no more than 10 years from the visa grant date and allow for entry into Australia for a maximum of 3 months at a time. Further details on this announcement are due to be released closer to the date it will be introduced.

Additionally, a Work and Holiday visa for Singaporeans will finally be implemented, commencing 1 August 2017. This was previously slated way back in May 2016. Like many Work and Holiday programmes, this visa is subject to reciprocal arrangements, which may explain the delay. Up to 500 places have been allocated for Singaporeans per year.

Of course, both visas will require other requirements to be met including the usual public interest criteria, and it will be expected that for both visas, applicants will have adequate funds to support themselves during their stay in Australia.