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December 12, 2021BY World Consultant

Written by Alza Kryeziu

In a move to boost its tourism sector, Australia is considering extending its ten-year frequent traveler visa scheme for visitors from eligible ASEAN countries, along with East Timor.

Under the proposed extension, tourists from Southeast Asian countries could soon enjoy the privileges of Australia’s long-term visa program, easing hassle-free travel for up to a decade, VisaGuide.World reports.

In addition, Australia plans to increase its business visa validity from three to five years, simplifying processes for entrepreneurs and investors.

Australia is working to build stronger economic ties with countries to its north. This is happening as the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies, are changing their relationship after many years and forming their groups.

Australia Allocates $2 Billion for Southeast Asian Business

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will also announce some changes to make it easier for businesses to do business with Southeast Asian countries. It will include granting more extended visas to business people and creating a US$2 billion ($1.3 billion) fund to help with regional investment.

Our new $2 billion fund for Australian businesses expanding into Southeast Asia will create Australian jobs and boost our trade, particularly in clean energy development and infrastructure. Our investments will mean a more stable region and more prosperity at home.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

At the same time, Australia is meeting with leaders from ASEAN countries, except Myanmar, to celebrate 50 years of working together. The Albanian government wants to focus on improving trade and security with Southeast Asia because things there are uncertain, with China becoming more assertive and the possibility of former US President Donald Trump returning to power.

Some new plans include the $2 billion Southeast Asia Investment Fund, providing A$140 million over four years to help build infrastructure and creating particular sites called “landing pads” to help Australian businesses in Vietnam and Indonesia.

Australia had initially welcomed Chinese tourists into its 10-year visa scheme, aiming to tap into the vast population of the world’s second-largest economy. However, recent trends show that Australia is missing out on Chinese tourism, with many opting for neighboring Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Malaysia due to their visa-free policies.

Last month, Thailand and Australia took steps towards strengthening their relationship by implementing the possibility of a reciprocal visa waiver scheme.

Moreover, in January 2024, Australia took a different approach by discontinuing its Significant Investor Visa (SIV) scheme, commonly known as the Golden Visa program. Under this program, wealthy foreign investors could obtain residency in Australia by making significant financial investments and meeting specific criteria.