I was just notified Australia is going to require a VISA for all crew member soon. Here are the details:
Maritime Crew Visa is here
The Australian Government now requires foreign sea crew to obtain a Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) to come to Australia.
This means the 130 000 foreign sea crew who typically travel to Australia annually on commercial ships, such as cargo and cruise ships, and other non-military ships, now need to apply for a visa before they arrive.
The MCV aims to strengthen Australia’s border security while continuing to enable the entry of genuine foreign seafarers. It will replace the current Special Purpose Visa that is granted to foreign sea crew on arrival, provided they meet entry requirements.
There is a six-month transitional period until 31 December 2007 to allow the maritime industry to adapt to the new requirement and apply for MCVs. From 1 January 2008, the MCV will be mandatory and crew not holding an MCV are likely to be restricted on board and fines imposed.
is required by all foreign sea crew (except New Zealanders)
requires a formal visa application to be made outside of Australia
needs to be granted before arrival
is free of charge
is valid for three years
allows multiple entries to Australia
is valid for travel to Australia by sea (not by air).
Applying for an MCV
Individual seafarers, along with authorised third parties such as shipping agents or crew manning agents, may apply for the MCV. Third parties may also be able to receive communications on behalf of crew. For example, when an MCV is approved the third party is notified by letter or email. It is also possible to check online whether a crew member holds an MCV.
MCV applications can be lodged over the internet or by completing a paper application and posting it to Brisbane, Australia. Applications cannot be lodged at an Australian embassy, consulate or high commission.
Internet applications may be finalised within days, while paper applications may take some weeks to finalise. Only one application may be lodged at a time and it should only take a few minutes to submit an application for each crew member, provided the required information is available.
The MCV is a change for the shipping industry however it seeks to strikes a balance between the need for stronger border security and the demands of shipping operations.
For more information on the Maritime Crew Visa visit: www.immi.gov.au/sea