17 July 2008

Burmese visitors given Australian visas for WYD

A group of Burmese people were overjoyed when they received their Australian visas to attend the World Youth Day (WYD) celebrations. Included in the group were six priests, three mauve nuns and 33 pilgrims, all heading to the country to see the pope and the annual celebrations, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Julien Porteous, the Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, told the newspaper the Australian visa holders should gain strength from the Catholic celebrations to take back to their country. "So it was with all the more reason that we rejoice - despite many, many difficulties - these pilgrims have been able to come," he added.

A spokesperson from the Department of Immigration said the applicants are "known members of the Catholic church" and are "aware of the importance of complying with the conditions of their visa".

WYD is set to create £231 million for the city of Sydney as Australian visa holders flock to the event. It is described as a "welcome boost" for the city, reports the newspaper.

An ETA visa is required for all short-term visitors travelling to Australia. Visa Bureau's automated application process means that in most cases, they can be granted in seconds.

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