30 October 2012

Australia visa policy for cabin crew to be reviewed

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has said a review will be conducted into how foreign staff working on international flights are granted an Australia visa.

Australia visa

The way foreign crew members on international flights are granted visas will be reviewed throughout November.

Under current immigration policy, foreign crew members are granted a special purpose Australia visa which can be quickly granted under the proviso that the holder is not working on domestic flights.

However, with more and more international airlines also operating domestic flights within Australia, current policy threatens to leave thousands of crew members in breach of their visa conditions.

Mr Bowen said visa policy no longer kept pace with modern airlines' business models.

"These practices have led to concerns about visa arrangements for foreign air crew on those flights within Australia which, due to the passenger composition or connectivity, may not be perceived as reasonably linked to an international flight," said Mr Bowen.

The minister's proposed changes to policy include three separate scenarios for foreign crew members:

A single Australia visa valid only in the port of arrival and not for any domestic legs of a flight
Allowing foreign crew members to work domestic legs as long as it is the same plane as the one they entered Australia on
Allow foreign crew to legally work in one domestic area of Australia on both inward and outward bound international flights

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon welcomed the review, claiming current policy allowed airlines to exploit visa rules and have foreign crew members work multiple domestic flights without leaving the country.

The review is expected to continue until the end of November.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.

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