27 July 2010

Australian Student Visa cuts will also injure tourism say experts

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Plans to cut Australian immigration numbers have been criticised by the tourism industry who say 80 per cent of all international students attract at least one other visitor to Australia.

ETA Visa

Immigration cuts, particularly to student visas, will have an effect on the tourism industry experts warn.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott have both said they would make cuts to Australian immigration, which currently takes in 270,000 people a year.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has said there will be economic consequences to any reduction in immigration, particularly to the number of Australian Student Visas as more than 80 per cent of all international students attract at least one other overseas visitor to Australia during their stay.

"Any changes to international student visa numbers need to be made with the knowledge of the flow-on effects this will have on other sectors of the economy," ATEC managing director Matt Hingerty said in a statement.

The international education sector is a vital component of Australia's $26 billion inbound tourism sector, bringing not only international students keen to travel in Australia during study breaks but also associated visits from friends and relatives.

"Decreasing the number of international students will adversely impact upon the inbound tourism industry," Mr Hingerty said.

All international visitors to Australia for tourism purposes, unless they have an Australian or New Zealand passport, must have an  ETA Visa. The ETA Visa, or Electronic Travel Authority, allows the holder to enter Australia multiple times for tourism purposes for up to three months.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian Visa applications at Australia House London.   

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