Sponsored Family Visitor Visas added to biometrics programme

24 Mar 15

AUSTRALIA

IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? Australia will add Sponsored Family Visitor Visas to its biometrics programme on 6 May.

What does the change mean? Affected applicants will have to visit an Australian Visa Application Centre or Australian Biometrics Collection Centre to have biometrics (fingerprints and facial image) taken after they submit visa applications.

  • Implementation timeframe: 6 May.
  • Visas/permits affected: Sponsored Family stream of the Visitor visa (subclass 600).
  • Who is affected: Anyone applying for a Sponsored Family Visitor Visa in a country from which Australia requires biometrics data.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will add to the time it takes to complete the visa application process for applicants in countries covered by the biometrics programme.
  • Business impact: There is no impact to business travellers; most work and business visas are already part of the biometrics programme.
  • Next steps: Sponsored Family Visitor Visa applications filed between now and 6 May do not require biometrics data. From 6 May forward, however, applicants who file Sponsored Family Visitor Visa applications from countries covered by the programme will receive correspondence from the Australian Government directing them to have biometrics taken. Applicants must take the correspondence to the closest Australian Visa Application Centre or Australian Biometrics Collection Centre to complete the process.

Background: Australia’s biometrics programme only covers designated subclasses of visas and only covers applicants from designated countries. Even after Sponsored Family Visitor Visas are added to the programme, the visa applications will continue to be lodged and processed in Australia. However, biometrics collection will be able to be completed at the closest Australian Visa Application Centres or Australian Biometrics Collection Centres abroad.

The biometrics programme covers a number of subclasses of visas in the Permanent Family, Temporary Family, Visitor and Student visa categories. The countries covered by the programme are:

Bahrain Ghana Nepal Saudi Arabia
Bangladesh Jordan Nigeria Sri Lanka
Cambodia Kenya Oman United Arab Emirates
Colombia Kuwait Pakistan Yemen
Ethiopia Lebanon Qatar Zimbabwe
France Malaysia  

Applicants filing applications from the countries above will be required to have biometrics taken regardless of nationality.

BAL Analysis: Once implemented, applicants for Sponsored Family Visitor Visas from countries covered by the biometrics programme will have to leave additional time in the visa application process in order to meet all requirements.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

MARN: 9683856

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