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Visas stamp out business travellers

AUSTRALIA’S concern about the mounting illegal immigration problem is creat-ing problems for industry, with foreigners finding it difficult to gain short stay business visas.

International Business Council of Western Australia chairman Dr Desmond Williams has raised the alarm on the issue, claiming appli-cants for temporary business visas are being treated like boat people by the Australia’s immigration authorities when they seek to enter the country on legitimate business ven-tures.

Mr Williams said business people having difficulties with immigration bureaucracy in Australia would simply look for opportunities in other countries.

"Business visas are ex-tremely difficult and one of the problems with the de-partment is they feel that

the integrity of the visa system is at risk every time a business person tries to come to Australia," Mr Williams said.

"We are losing people here in Australia, we are losing opportunities for business be-cause our immigration depart-ment is interfering with the practice of business."

He said the IBC had to

raise these problems and put pressure on the Federal government to address these issues.

"Economists will come up with many reasons why the dollar is where it is, but I’ll tell you one simple one if you’re not doing business and making money for this country the dollar will be where it is. Business people are not boat people, business people want to spend their money and they want to do business.”

Chamber of Commerce and Industry group manager of trade services Keith Seed said that as a result of these talks the state chambers have introduced a new service to help businesses correctly complete visa application forms.

"A few of our members were trying to entice bona fide business from China and Vietnam to come here with the view to either buying or setting up joint ventures and were getting rejected out of hand," Mr Seed said.

"We identified that because of language difficulties applications weren’t completed properly, the Department of Immigration said that if there was additional supporting documentation like special reasons for the visit then their job would be much easier."

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs said all short stay business visas are assessed against the same regulations and policy.

"In the main, most visitor refusals are assessed to be non genuine visitors, individuals whose visa applications are refused are advised in writing the reasons for refusal," a spokesperson said.

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