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India to be removed from visitor risk list.

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India to be Removed from Visitor Risk List MPS 139/2000

Four countries, including India, will be removed from, and another five added to, the risk factor visitor visa list, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, announced today.

A new visitor visa risk factor list will take effect from January 1, 2001.

The risk list identifies, by country, age and sex, visitors who statistically present a higher risk of overstaying their visas.

"Inclusion in the list does not prevent the grant of visitor visas. It simply provides guidance for immigration officers overseas by alerting them to the greater statistical probability that visa applicants from countries on the risk factor list might seek to remain in Australia beyond the validity of their visitor visa."

Mr Ruddock said Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, El Salvador and India would be removed from the list for the first time.

"An improvement in the return rate of visitors from these four countries means I have been able to remove these countries from the risk factor list.

"I am particularly satisfied to see that over the past few years there has been a significant increase in the number of visitors arriving in Australia from several key emerging tourism markets, such as India, without an increase in the non-return rate."

So far in 2000-2001 financial year, 21 per cent more visitor visas have been granted in India than in the same period last year.

Mr Ruddock said Afghanistan, Armenia, Brazil, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and Mongolia would be added to the list because of the poor return rate of visitors from those countries.

"The Government remains committed to the list and to ensuring it remains current and responsive to changing circumstances. To this end, the methodology for identifying countries that appear will continue to be fine-tuned," he said.

28 December 2000 Media Contact: Ann Duffield 0412 491 568

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