PHUKET: Australians have always loved Thailand, and many come here regularly and develop business and personal relationships. That, over time, leads to the desire to travel to Australia and see what the place is truly like.
Unfortunately there has been a lot of confusion and myths over who is eligible for an Australian visa, and the process required to get one. I have many clients and people I speak to who have tried to contact the embassy only to be looped endlessly around electronic messages, each one more unhelpful and frustrating than the last.
Hopefully these few facts on the current state of events will clear things up.
Fact 1: VFS is not part of the Australian Embassy. People are being misled into believing the only way to get a visa to Australia is by flying to Bangkok for an appointment and applying in person. This is not correct at all. VFS is a private business that the Australian Government has contracted to assist with visa processing. They do not review and issue the visas themselves, which is 100 per cent the role of the embassy to do.
In fact, there is a VFS office in Phuket Town in the corner of the Post Office, so the need for the expense to fly to Bangkok is unnecessary.
Fact 2: You can actually apply for a visa online from the comfort of your own home. The Australian Government has just launched its brand new website – https://www.border.gov.au/ where people in Thailand can apply directly for their own visa. You just need to go to the above website and create your own personal account and follow the steps.
Fact 3: Allow plenty of time to apply. The processing time has been increased significantly recently, the reason cited being that there is a lot more demand, so it is worth applying at least 30 days in advance.
Fact 4: It is not difficult to get an Australian visa as long as you meet the requirements, and more importantly make sure that the application contains all the relevant supporting evidence. If you are in doubt, then you can always seek assistance from a Registered Australian Migration Agent here in Thailand.
To help clear the confusion there will be an Information Night held on Thursday July 16. This will be hosted by Peter Laughton, one of Australia’s most highly-regarded migration agents with his advice often sought by other members of the migration profession as he has been involved in the business community as a business owner and adviser for 20 years and practicing as a Registered Migration Agent since 1997. The co-host will be Simon Wetherell, based permanently in Phuket.
This information night will cover all kinds of visas for Australia, including working holiday, business, migration, partner and tourist.
For more information on the free Information Night please contact Simon Wetherell on 095-085 3355 or visit his website www.AustralianVisaPhuket.com. Simon is an Australian, Cayman Islands and England & Wales qualified Lawyer as well as an Australian Registered Migration Agent (MARN# 1464995) who has been practicing law since 1999. He offers a free initial consultation to anyone looking for visa advice.
— Simon Wetherell
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