Virtually every foreign person needs a visa to enter Australia. There are literally hundreds of different types of Australian visa applications available depending on the reason for your journey to Australia. You may want to migrate permanently, work, study, do tourist activities or conduct business negotiations. Whatever your reason for wanting to enter Australia there will be a visa available to suit your needs.
However, once you find an Aus visa that is right for your needs you still need to satisfy the criteria for the grant of the visa. Depending on the visa you will need to meet the character, health, financial, age, and other requirements.
Many Australian visas are also subdivided into categories depending on the risk factor of the applicant. This risk factor is initially determined based on the country of the passport that the applicant for the visa possesses. For example, there are 5 different Assessment Levels for the processing of student visas. If you would like to study English in Australia and you have a passport from a country such as Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland, Japan or the USA you are classed as Assessment Level 1. This is the easiest Assessment Level which requires the least amount of supporting documentation and checks. If you are from Thailand you are classed as Assessment Level 2. If you are from the Philippines or mainland China you are classed as Assessment Level 3. If you are from Cambodia or India you are classified as Assessment Level 4, and so on. Therefore, as you would expect it is more complicated to obtain a Student if you have a Thai passport than if you a have an Irish passport.
The determination that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) makes about which country passport will be Assessment Level 1 or 2 etc. is based on a number of things including the past visa history of people from that country passport. For example how many people from China have overstayed their visa or breached the conditions of their visa. It is a generalization ad can be seen by some as discriminatory but it is only the start point of DIAC’s inquiries. Once your Assessment Level is determined DIAC then focuses on the individual applicant to determine if they are suitable for the visa.
To use another example, if you would like to obtain a Tourist visa to visit Australia, there are 3 main categories of Tourist visas based on your country of passport. If you have a passport from the USA, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong (SAR), Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and many European countries you can apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Ian ETA is fairly easy to obtain and can even be done online. If you hold a Thai passport you must apply for a Tourist (Subclass 676) visa. This application requires applicants to fill in a paper application and submit supporting documentation. This also includes countries like the Philippines, India and mainland China. Again, the reasoning behind the differences in procedure for people holding passports from different countries is largely based on government statistics about from visa usage. Working in Australia while on a Tourist visa/Holiday visa Australia is not allowed but a relatively large proportion of people from China, Thailand, the Philippines and many other countries have been caught working, whereas fewer people from countries such as the USA, Switzerland, Japan etc…have been caught working.
It is important not to be discouraged by these initial classifications. While there may be more check made, more supporting documentation required and stricter financial requirements, as long as you qualify for your visa of choice you will be granted it.
At Australian Visa Advice, we specialise in Tourist, Fiancé, Marriage and De Facto visas. If you have a Thai passport and you want to apply for a Tourist visa Australia (for example) you should first work out if you would be likely to qualify for the visa. After that, you can look at what forms you need to fill out and documents in support of your Australian visa application form you will need to provide. If you need any assistance you can always contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 08 4222 3946. We can advise on these things and many other aspects of your application or your journey to Australia.