Serious concerns have been raised over the rise in Visa Application Charges for Australian Partner visas, which is set to occur from 1 January 2015.
The increase followed the mid-year budget review, in which Treasurer Joe Hockey announced the Government would use the price hike to raise an extra $373.6 million over the next four years.
The increase will be around 50% extra on top of the current application charges, or an additional $2300.00 for an onshore spouse visa application – even more if any children are included in an application.
President of the Migration Institute of Australia, Angela Chan, expressed her disappointment in the move, claiming that the price rise wouldn’t see an increase in the level of service provided to migrants, and would affect those who are already under significant financial pressure.
“As important as revenue-raising is for the Government, it must be properly and fairly targeted,” she said in a media release issued by the MIA shortly after the announcement.
“The targets on this occasion are those who have no choice but to pay this exorbitant fee, regardless of their ability or willingness to pay.
*Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection
“I would urge the Government to reconsider the proposed increase. It can only be seen as an easy for revenue-raising without presenting a business case for the 50% increase,” she said.Ms Chan also said that the move represented a diminished government focus on family migration, an attitude that conflicted with Australia’s cultural values.
“This is sadly at odds with the concepts of fair play and respect of in the Australian Values Statement which visa applicants are expected to embrace.”
Mr Glazbrook went on to say that the price rise had emphasised the importance on getting a visa application right the first time around.
“Now, even more than ever this demonstrates why it is so important to obtain professional guidance and/or assistance with a spouse visa application.
“The increased fees and charges are so significant that is simply too risky to lodge an application that may be refused or significantly delayed due to a simple error, omission or an incomplete visa application being submitted to the Department.”