Recent changes to Australia’s online ETA visa system have been causing problems for travel agents processing the 3 month visas to Australia from Singapore. The changes were outlined in rather hurried website changes:
The important thing for Singaporean citizens is that an ETA visa is still required for travelling to Australia. The Australian ETA visa allows:
- a stay for up to 3 months in Australia
- is valid for travel anytime within 12 months of being issued
- is still not free but is available online for Sgd$12 per visa
The purpose of the changes is to ensure business travelers are complying with the requirements of the ETA visa. Conference attendees and business trips for negotiations and exploring opportunities are still eligible for the online Australian ETA visa. But business travelers undertaking short term assignments are now required to apply for the Temporary work (short stay activity) visa (subclass 400) visa. This new visa class costs A$145 per visa and it is very unclear how onerous the requirements for this visa will be.
The practical effect of the changes is that an applicants address, phone number and any other citizenship information is now being collected. Unfortunately the hurried manner in which these changes have been implemented has left a lack of training material and many travel agents are now unable to process the ETA for clients in Singapore.
If you need an Australian ETA visa, make sure you are not paying more than Sgd$12. You can apply online here. There are a number of providers of the service charging between A$20 and US$45 per visa and they are taking advantage of Singaporean travelers.