Permissible Activities on Visitor Visas

Visitor visa is a popular choice for many people who are seeking to travel or visit their family or friends in Australia. As it is for visitors, there are no work rights. But did you know that visitor visas also allow you to visit Australia for business reasons? Applying for a work visa is often complicated and time-confusing, therefore many businesses look into visitor visas to send their foreign employees into Australia.

There are many streams and types of visitor visas. These include:

Below we will elaborate on the activities you can undertake on these visas.

Tourist visits to Australia

If you intend to visit your family and friends and travel around Australia as a tourist, a visitor visa is for you. There are three main different visitor visas, and these are Subclass 601 – ETA, Subclass 651 eVisitor and Subclass 600 – Tourist Stream. Subclass 601 and Subclass 651 are a cheap and fast way to obtain a visa to travel to Australia. To be eligible, you must hold a passport from these countries:

Subclass 601 – ETA

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong (SAR of China)
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Republic of San Marino
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (excluding official or diplomatic passports)
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom—British Citizen
  • United Kingdom—British National (Overseas)
  • United States of America
  • Vatican City

Subclass 651 – eVisitor

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Republic of San Marino
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom – British Citizen
  • Vatican City

All other visitors

If you’re not from one of the above countries you can apply for the Subclass 600 – Tourist Stream visa.

Permissible activities on a Visitor visa

These visas are great for people who intend to travel to Australia. Therefore, while you are on these visas, the permissible activities include:

  • Visiting an Australian citizen, or Australian permanent resident who is a parent, spouse, de facto partner, child, brother or sister.
  • Visiting an Australian citizen, or permanent resident who is a friend.
  • Travelling in Australia.
  • Studying or training for a period of up to three months.
  • Purchasing property in Australia.
  • Undertaking online work if the work is incidental to a holiday.
  • Volunteering in Australia.*

*Volunteering is a permissible activity on a tourist visa. However, strict rules are regulating this. Under regulations, a person who wishes to undertake voluntary work may only do so if they meet all of the following:

  • the primary purpose of the voluntary work is tourism
  • the work would not otherwise be undertaken in return for wages by an Australian resident (that is, it is a designated volunteer role)
  • the main benefit of the voluntary work is not to a commercial organisation
  • is genuinely voluntary (for example, no financial payment is received – board and lodging acceptable) and
  • the voluntary work is short term (generally three months)
  • is of benefit to the community

Now, let’s look at what you cannot do on a visitor visa. A visitor visa is not suitable for you if you are looking to:

Business Visitors to Australia

Business Visitor visa is ideal for people who intend to visit Australia for business reasons. It does not allow the visa holders to work, however, you can undertake business visitor activities.

Permissible activities on a Business Visitor visa

The purpose of the business visitor activity criterion is to facilitate legitimate business visitor activity while precluding visitors from entering the Australian labour market or undertaking work that might otherwise be undertaken by an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Business visitor activities include:

  • Making a general business or employment enquiry.
  • investigating, negotiating, entering into, or reviewing a business contract.
  • an activity carried out as part of an official government to government visit.
  • participation in a conference, trade fair or seminar in Australia unless the person is being paid by an organiser for participation.

For example, a board member of a company may attend a meeting provided that they do not undertake work duties on behalf of an Australian business.

What are you not allowed to do on a business visitor visa?

Activities that are not permissible include:

  • an activity that is, or includes, undertaking work for, or supplying services to, an organisation or other person based in Australia (see SC400 and SC482).
  • an activity that is, or includes, the sale of goods or services directly to the general public.
Which visa should I apply to travel as a business traveller?

You can travel to Australia as a business traveller under these visas: Business travellers from ETA countries can apply for the Subclass 601 visa whilst business travellers from EVV countries can apply for the Subclass 651 visa. If you are from a non-ETA or non-EVV traveller, you will have to apply for the Subclass 600 – Business Visitor stream.

Above are the activities that can be undertaken in Australia while you hold a visitor visa.

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