Appendix A: Written Questions to the Department of Immigration and
The Migration (Visa Evidence) Charge Bill 2012 imposes a
visa evidence charge. What is the current process for the issuing of hardcopy
visa evidence and what is the nature of the evidence provided on request?
Visa labels are not required by Australia. Instead the
Department has an online visa validation service, Visa Entitlement Verification
Online (VEVO). Please describe the system, its functions and the current rate
of access by visa holders and third parties.
The bills are introduced as part of the transfer to a user
pays model. Please provide more information about the objectives of Visa
Pricing Transformation in the context of DIAC’s broader Transformation Program,
and the shift to label free travel mentioned in the Explanatory Memoranda.
Visa evidence requests
The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Mr Chris Bowen
MP has noted that, during 2011, 1.3 million visa labels were requested, 455 000
being made onshore (Second Reading Speech, House Hansard, 9 May 2012).
Given Australia has VEVO and that hard copy visa evidence is not required by
law, why are the number of onshore requests for visa labels so high?
Over 900 000 requests were made offshore. What types of
institutions or organisations in Australia and overseas might request require
hard copy visa evidence and for what purpose? Would schools or educational institutions
require such evidence?
The Minister also noted in his second reading speech that
business process based initiatives have not been successful in encouraging more
clients to use the online visa validation system. Please detail the measures
tried and the target audiences.
Has the Department conducted an impact assessment in
Australia and overseas to identify and address potential barriers to
participation for particular sectors, such as education, under the shift to
online visa validation?
What consultation with external stakeholders was conducted
in the course of preparing these bills? What concerns were raised and how were
these addressed in the legislation?
Costs and revenue projections
The Explanatory Memoranda for these bills state that their
financial impact will be high, with revenue in the order of $90 million to be
generated over three years. Please explain the economic modelling used to
arrive at this revenue forecast. Is cost recovery a major driver for
introduction of the new charge?
The Migration (Visa Evidence) Charge Bill 2012 provides for
a maximum charge of $250 for a visa label. What factors were taken into account
when determining this upper limit and how was it calculated?
The Migration (Visa Evidence) Charge (Consequential
Amendments) Bill 2012 provides for regulations to set different charges for
different circumstances and classes of visa, and for a method of calculation to
be developed for this. Please describe the calculation method and/or the costing
methodology for the different charges.
Can the Department provide an indication of the range of
charges for different categories of visas: for example, for skilled long and
short stay visas?
Which classes of visa will be exempted and which will
attract nil fees? Under what circumstances may particular fees be reduced?