Visa Charges to Increase Significantly from 1 July 2013

webster By Mark Webster
Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Department of Immigration Visa application fees are set to increase from 1 July 2013 - for many visa applicants the changes are likely to be significant.

The increased fees are part of the Department of Immigration's Visa Pricing Transformation initiative. The Visa Pricing Transformation program introduces a "user pays" methodology for visa application charges, and is forecast to increase Government revenues by some $613 million over the next 4 years.

Additional Applicant Surcharge (Dependents)

Additional charges will apply for family members included in a visa application from 1 July 2013. Under current arrangements, an entire family unit is covered by a single visa application fee. From 1 July, fees will be payable for "additional dependents" included in the application.

Duration Surcharge for 457 Visas

The cost of applying for a 457 visa will depend on the duration of the visa from 1 July 2013. A "surcharge" will apply when requesting a longer stay 457 visa.

There is no indication at this stage that the maximum validity period of a 457 visa will increase from the current 4 years. Most likely the cost of a 4 year 457 visa will increase from 1 July 2013.

Onshore Subsequent Visa Application Surcharge

A surcharge will also apply for onshore subsequent visa applications. If an applicant is already in Australia, the cost of applying may then be higher than if they have applied from outside Australia. Visas affected include 457 visas and visitor visa extensions (subclass 600).

Paper Application Surcharge

Additional fees will also apply if an application is lodged in paper format where an e-lodgement option is available. This change will be introduced progressively, with more and more visa subclasses affected over time.

CPI Adjustment

On top of the above Visa Pricing Transformation adjustments, application fees for most visas will almost certainly be increased by at least CPI on 1 July 2013.

CPI increase is linked to inflation and is generally 3-5%.

How Can You Avoid The New Fees?

The new fees only apply to applications lodged from 1 July 2013. The best way to avoid the fees is to lodge a valid application before 1 July 2013.

Legislation for the above changes has not yet been released, but we will update this site as soon as we have additional information.

Please call us on (02) 9230 0888 to book a consultation to discuss your visa options and give yourself the best chance of lodging your application before the fees increase.

References

Visa Pricing Transformation Budget Announcement
Department of Immigration Presentation on Fee Changes

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