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Thursday, 17 February 2000
Page: 13894

Mr Kerr asked the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 9 December 1999:

What steps will the Government take to ensure that the new electronic three month business visas for overseas performers will not allow producers to sidestep local labour market tests.

Mr Ruddock (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

There is no new electronic three month business visa for overseas performers. Business visitors to Australia who wish to stay for up to three months and who have access to the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), have been able to use the business visitor version of the ETA since 1996. The ETA is provided electronically through a travel agent when airline bookings are made and has dramatically changed the way we deal with legitimate short-term business interests from low immigration risk countries.

The business ETA has been used over the past 3 years by IT contractors, visiting sports teams, overseas media and entertainers. With the Olympics next year, the smooth entry of these people will become even more important. My announcement on 22 October highlighted my intention to issue a Ministerial Direction to provide clearer guidance on the increasingly broad use of the business ETA.

While the ETA has been available since 1996, I am aware of concerns within the entertainment industry regarding use of the business ETA by overseas performers. In response to these concerns, I intend to consider further how these concerns may best be accommodated.