Depending on the country of passport, many visitors to Australia are able to apply online for either an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) or e-Visitor visa, to facilitate their travel for business or tourism purposes, for up to 3 months stay on each visit.
One of the conditions of stay is that the holder must not work in Australia other than by engaging in ‘business visitor activity’.
‘Business visitor activity’ is defined in the Regulations as follows:
- making general business enquiries, or investigating, negotiating and reviewing contracts with organisations in Australia;
- investigating, negotiating or entering into a personal business agreement, including investment or enquiring into employment opportunities;
- participating in conferences, trade fairs or seminars unless the visa holder is being paid by the organisers for participation;
- making an official government to government visit.
A ‘business visitor activity’ is not:
- the actual supply of services to, or the undertaking of work for, an organisation in Australia or individuals in Australia; or
- making sales of goods or services directly to the general public.
There is currently a Joint Standing Committee on Migration investigating “integrity issues” associated with the ETA visa, in particular evidence of visa cancellation rates and non-compliance with the “no work” condition.
This is therefore a timely reminder of the importance of abiding by this visa condition. If the intention is to work in Australia, there are other visa options that permit work and the ETA or e-Visitor visa is not suitable. Please discuss any concerns with your advisor.
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