The Australian High Commission in South Africa has announced there have been some changes to the Australian visa process in South Africa, including the fact that some visa applications will need to be done online from 19 November onwards.
The High Commission is also in talks with TLSContact to improving services in South Africa by increasing the number of available appointments and enhancing the call centre.
Visa applications move online
As part of its Future Directions for Streamlined Visa Processing, the Australian government has announced it will introduce new visa subclasses for temporary activity from 19 November 2016. Applications for these visas must be lodged online through an individualised immiAccount. No paper temporary activity visa applications will be accepted by TLScontact or the Australian High Commission.
TLScontact will also stop accepting the following applications from close of business on Wednesday 16 November 2016:
Subclass 401 Temporary Work (Long Stay Activity) visa
Subclass 402 Training and Research visa
Subclass 416 Special Program visa
Subclass 420 Temporary Work (Entertainment) visa
Subclass 488 Superyacht Crew visa
Further information regarding the changes can be found at http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/temporary-activity-visa-changes#
TLScontact improves service
The Australian High Commission has also advised that it is working with TLScontact to improve the ease of scheduling appointments.
A number of travel agents have reported they have been unable to make appointments at some centres or get through to TLScontact via telephone and email.
The Australian High Commission encourages all applicants and agents to book appointments online via https://au.tlscontact.com. TLScontact have increased the number of appointments available each day at all South African VACs, which has resolved availability issues. Furthermore, TLS have introduced a live operator option on the Call Centre service and is working on reducing wait times.
Please remember Standard Processing Times
The number of visa applications received by the Australian High Commission Pretoria triples during September, October and November as applicants seek to travel during the holiday period.
The current processing times for visitor visas is 30 days. Travel agents should advise their clients not to make non-refundable travel/airline bookings in anticipation of the grant of a visa within this timeframe. The Australian High Commission recommends clients lodge their visa application well ahead of their proposed travel dates and only finalise any travel arrangements after the visa process has been completed.
We are able to expedite visa processing where there is an urgent need to travel due to compassionate or compelling circumstances, please refer to: http://southafrica.embassy.gov.au/pret/Immi_Urgent_Travel.html