DIAC Places Increases on Visa Application Charge

 The Australian Government announced last week, that the Department of Immigration visa application fees will increase across the board by 15% from September 1st onwards. The only visa types exempt from these price increases are the Student visas and Tourist visas.

The Government made the announcement about the increases in the Visa Application Charges (VAC) in their Economic Statement for the 2013-2014 financial year. The further increases in Visa Application Charges have come as a surprise to many, including Western Australia Chamber of Commerce and Industry representative James Pearson.

“Our members have been telling us that the government’s attack, because that’s what it’s been, on the 457 visa program has been costly and disturbing and made it harder for them to recruit people overseas,” he said.

The visa lodgement fee for Employer Sponsored Visa subclass 457 will increase from $900-$1,035, including additional fee increases for family members from $225 to $260 for children under 18 years and from $765 to $880 for dependants over the age of 18. 

The base visa application charge for both the subclass 186 and subclass 187 visas  will also increase from $3,060 to $3,520 September onwards. The additional dependent charge for these subclass visas for those aged 18 or over will increase from $1,530 to $1,760, and for those under 18, it will rise from $765 to $880.

The reasons given by the Australian government for the VAC increases, that the decision was “primarily revenue in nature.”  James Pearson says the  visas mentioned above allow employers to employ essential workers in mining, construction, health and nursing across the state.

“That just doesn’t make sense at a time when Australia needs talent wherever it can find it.”

The increases are set to raise $542 million for the Australian government over the next 4 years. However, the new price increase has also come on top of other recently announced increase of visa fees announced on 1 July and an introduction of a education charge for 457 Visa families in Western Australia introduced only last week.

Mr. Pearson said the 457 program has kept businesses open, construction sites working and provided essential health services across the country. He also mentioned that  large number of people who came in as temporary workers often settle in Australia permanently and the new charges could have a massive affect on those living in remote areas of Australia.

“The government should think very carefully about making it harder for Australian employers, large and small, to bring in temporary workers from overseas when locals aren’t available to do the job,” he said.

Here is a table below to keep track of some of the latest price increases which will be implemented on September 1st:

Visa TypeCurrent FeeFrom 1 SepIncrease
457 Temporary Worker (Skilled)$900$1,035$135
Partner (Onshore)$3,975$4,575$600
Partner (Offshore)$2,680$3,085$405
General Skilled Migration$3,060$3,520$460
Temporary Graduate 485$1,250$1,440$190
Working Holiday$365$420$55
Contributory Parent 2nd VAC$42,220$48,550$6,330