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Paperless visa system expanded.



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Media Release

 

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Telephone: (02) 6277 7860 Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144

 

MPS 113/98

 

PAPERLESS VISA SYSTEM EXPANDED

 

 

In a move that will further support the Australian tourism industry the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, said today the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) system would be expanded from 1 July 1999 to include Hong Kong and Taiwan.

 

“The ETA system has been a great success, with more than 70 per cent of all visitors to Australia using the system,’ Mr Ruddock said.

 

“Tourism provides major economic benefits to Australia and the continued expansion of the ETA system will considerably improve Australia’s ability to handle the expected increase in visitors, particularly in the lead up to the Olympic Games in the year 2000.”

 

The ETA system is a simple, fast and efficient way of providing tourists and short term business travellers with an automatic authority to travel to Australia. It also includes pre-clearance for entry that reduces the time needed to process passengers on arrival.

 

“In the lead up to the introduction, officers of my Department will continue working with officials in Hong Kong and Taiwan on administrative and technical issues,” Mr Ruddock said.

 

“It is important for genuine travellers to be able to take advantage of this service but at the same time it is essential to ensure that suitable measures are in place to ensure the security of Australia’s borders.

 

“In 1997-98 some 2.9 million visitors obtained visas to travel to Australia on business or to take a holiday. Of these, 75,000 were issued to residents of Hong Kong and 140,000 to residents of Taiwan.”

 

The ETA is currently available to nationals of 29 countries including the US, the UK, parts of Western Europe, Singapore and Japan.

 

ENDS

 

Wednesday, 26 August 1998

 

Media Inquiries: Brad Robinson (02) 6277 7860 or 0419 278 715

 

 

 

LK