More than 100,000 Chinese nationals have decided to celebrate Chinese New Year in Australia this year.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has processed about 100,000 visitor visa applications from China in January 2016 alone, a record figure for a single month. This is an increase of 17 per cent over January 2015.
Chinese New Year, celebrated today, is the peak travel period in China and is well known as the largest annual human migration in the world.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said that even with these record numbers the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has maintained a fast and efficient service.
“My Department is enabling record numbers of Chinese tourists by significantly improving the processing time of visitor visa applications from China with the majority of applications processed within five days,” Mr Dutton said.
“This is an excellent result for the Australian tourism industry and the many thousands of Chinese nationals who choose Australia as a holiday destination.
“The Year of the Sheep saw more than half a million visitor visa applications from Chinese nationals and we hope this trend will continue into the Year of the Monkey.”
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is on track to receive well over 800,000 visitor visa applications from Chinese nationals for the 2015-16 year.
The Sichuan province is one of the largest sources of tourist visa applications to Australia and the Australian Government has opened a visa application centre in Chengdu specifically to support these people to more easily gain access to Australian immigration services.
“This Government recognises the importance of Chinese tourists to the Australian tourism industry and economy as a whole, and as well as increasing efficiency in visa processing we are also introducing a number of tailored visa initiatives throughout 2016 to further encourage and support visitors from China, “ Mr Dutton said.
“These include expansion of the visitor visa online lodgement system and trials of 10-year validity visitor visas, online Mandarin language visa applications and an optional 48-hour fast-track processing service.
“My Department is working hard to support growth in the tourism industry while maintaining the integrity of our visa programmes.”