Are you looking to apply for a Visitor Visa?

Here’s what you need to know and why.

Despite borders opening and tourism being encouraged in Australia while the country’s economy recovers, applicants will find that the Subclass 600 Visitor Visa (600 visa) is not as easy to secure. Refusal of 600 visas has become more common recently.  For this reason, understanding the criteria of the 600 visa is integral to ensure you can put forward the best visa application and obtain a positive outcome.

What is a visitor visa?

The 600 visa is a temporary visa that allows you to visit Australia as a business visitor or see family and friends for up to 12 months. The streams provided under this visa includes:

  • Tourist Stream 
  • Sponsored Family Stream
  • Business Visitor Stream
  • Approved Destination Status Stream
  • Frequent Traveller Stream

*It is important to note that each stream has differing criteria, and as an applicant you need to consider which stream you are applying for, and if you meet the criteria for that particular stream.

Who is eligible for this visa and who would apply?

You would also need to apply for this particular visa on the basis that you do not meet the requirements of an eVisitor (Subclass 651) or an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). 

The common eligibility for this visa is inclusive of:

  • Intends to visit Australia as a tourist, business visitor, relative of an Australian permanent resident or citizen or ‘other’ reasons allowable under the 600 visa 
  • Having access to or have adequate funds, enough to support your stay in Australia (as well as departure)
  • Being classified as a Genuine Visitor, that is, do you have a genuine intention to stay temporarily in Australia?

This eligibility needs to be thoroughly considered when deciding upon applying for a visitor visa as you will undergo the scrutiny of a Department of Home Affair’s decision maker.

What makes applying for the 600 visa challenging?

We see 600 visa refusals mainly due to applicants failing to meet the ‘Genuine Intention to visit Australia temporarily’.  This appears to have become a focal point in decision makers refusing entry to individuals. 

In determining whether an applicant has a genuine intention to stay temporarily in Australia, a decision maker must consider the following:

  1. Whether the applicant has complied substantially with the conditions of their past visas
  2. Whether the applicant intends to comply with the conditions of their 600 visa
  3. Any other relevant matter

(b) and (c) are usually the two considerations where the decision maker has quite a broad discretion to consider a number of factors to be able to finally assess if the applicant can meet the genuine intention criteria.  This unfortunately can lead to unfair findings made by the Department’s case officer.

Some of the considerations for (b) are:

  • Adverse information or allegations against any applicant or a contact in Australia
  • Financial support during the applicant’s stay (without engaging in any work in Australia)…

Some of the considerations for (c) are:

  • Your employment and financial conditions
  • Economic, social and political situation relative to the applicant’s home or usual country of residence
  • Incentive to return to their home country or usual country of residence…

Why is this important to understand?

A lot of clients believe that applying for a 600 visa is straightforward.  In most cases it can be, however at other times, understanding how to put the best case forward by applying the laws, making succinct arguments and supporting the case with the right evidence, can improve your chances of success towards a positive visa outcome.

This is particularly important as overseas applicants mostly do not have a right of appeal of any 600 refusal decision.

The 600 visa stands as one of the most popular immigration visas, and thus, due to the high number of applications received by the Department of Home Affairs each year, the legislation for approval of this visa is strict and non-negotiable.  

M Legal’s lawyers’ experience makes us well equipped to help navigate and give you clarity on this entire process. With our knowledge, we can assist you with your next 600 visa application and put the most robust case together for you to make this work easier for you.

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Written by Sarah Mathew on behalf of M Legal’s lawyers.