Sunday, 16 September 2012

Changes to visa application services in China

Changes to the Australian visa delivery service in China are now in place with two application centres operating in Beijing and Shanghai and two more in Guangzhou and Chengdu being considered for next year.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) said that the new Australian Visa Application Centres (AVAC) will provide visa applicants with more convenient access to immigration services in these regions, including extended operating hours with phone lines operating until 5pm weekdays and internet kiosks with an online application tracking facility.

DIAC has restructured the visa processing responsibilities among the Australian Embassy and Consulates in China but decision will still be taken by DIAC staff.
‘Staff at the AVAC will have no involvement in the decision making process or have any knowledge of the application outcome,’ said a DIAC spokesman.
Chinese visa holders who have been granted a visa by an office in Australia can submit their passport to the Australian visa office at the Australian Consulate in Guangzhou to receive a visa label, if required.
The AVACs will charge RMB175 for each visa application over and above the standard visa application fee plus charges for outgoing such as couriers, photocopying, passports photos, translation services and faxes.
In addition to the introduction of AVACs, there will also be changes to where certain visa applications are processed in China.
‘Consolidating visa processing for certain visa applications into processing centres will enable a greater level of consistency in processing and decision making and will improve the service the department provides to clients in this region,’ said the DIAC spokesman.
These changes mean clients who reside in provinces within the Beijing and Shanghai catchment areas applying for most Australian visas should lodge their application at an AVAC in either Beijing or Shanghai.
Clients in the Guangzhou catchment applying in person or by post for an Australian visa should continue to lodge their application directly with the Australian Visa Office at the Australian Consulate in Guangzhou.
There will be no change to the current lodgement and processing arrangements for Government officials applying via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) or their local Foreign Affairs Office (FAO), Australian Destination Status (ADS) travel or Australian citizenship by Descent applications which should continue to be lodged directly with the nearest Australian Visa Office.

Meanwhile, the Australian embassy in Beijing will process temporary residence visa applications for the whole of China and liaise with Chinese government stakeholders.

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