Wed, Feb 09, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Travel to Australia, Malaysia to be simplified: MOFA

VISA-FREE PRIVILEGES:The Malaysian Cabinet has decided to allow visitors from Taiwan to enter visa-free, while Australia may offer electronic travel authority

Staff Writer, with CNA

Republic of China passport holders are expected to face simpler procedures to travel to Australia and Malaysia by the middle of this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

Malaysia is likely to grant Taiwanese visa-free treatment by the end of next month, and Australia is likely to offer electronic travel authority (ETA) services online by the end of June, said Matthew Lee (李世明), director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian & Pacific Affairs.

In the case of Australia, Republic of China (ROC) passport holders are currently eligible to apply for an ETA, which is the equivalent of a visa and issued electronically by Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

However, they must do so manually rather than online. In the future, however, Australia is expected to provide the more convenient online service to ROC passport holders with registered permanent residence, Lee said at a press briefing.

Canberra will hold off, however, on discussing granting the privilege to the group that gives it the most concern — passport holders who do not have registered permanent residence — Lee added.

The Malaysian Cabinet has reached a consensus to grant Taiwanese visitors visa-free treatment, and an official announcement could be made in the first quarter, Lee said.

Malaysia canceled visas on arrival for all countries on Aug. 15 last year, claiming that many visitors had abused the privilege and overstayed the visas they received.

Taiwan has allowed Malaysians to visit Taiwan without a visa since 2002.

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