Australians Angry Over Cricket Visa Cost – First Time Aussies Have Needed Visa For Barbados

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From The Australian…

Cricket Fans Angry At Cup Visa

AUSTRALIAN cricket fans heading to next year’s World Cup are angry over the last-minute introduction of a visa needed to enter the Caribbean island nations of Antigua, Jamaica and Barbados.

Australians heading to the World Cup in March will have to pay $128 each for a visa, netting a bonanza for West Indian coffers, News Limited newspapers report today.

Fans have called it a cash grab and complain that travellers with British, South African, US and Canadian passports are exempt.

It is the first time Australians have needed such a visa…

Even the Sydney-based Trinidad and Tobago consul general Mike Agostini had resigned in anger over the move, the papers said.

… original article (link here)

Yup – it does look like a cash grab to us, and we’d better hope that we grab lots because the economic hangover from Cricket World Cup is going to be with us for years after the last fan heads back to Australia.

30 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Cricket, Traveling and Tourism

30 responses to “Australians Angry Over Cricket Visa Cost – First Time Aussies Have Needed Visa For Barbados

  1. VCL

    This is not good news. Money will be made in the short-run but what about after CWC? Do they think the aussies will come back after this?

  2. God Bless David

    Don’t tourists require visas to go to Oz? What’s wrong if we reciprocate?

  3. Lady Anon

    Sure…all we have to do is drop the visa requirements. Indicative of the materialistic culture our dear old PM is warning against, isn’t it?

  4. passin thru

    It is a long way to come from Australia an it seem like a slap in de face to a guest who come so far.

  5. God Bless David

    All non-Australian citizens travelling to Australia require a visa….so again, why shouldn’t we have the same standards?!?!?

  6. Hants

    God Bless David says “All non-Australian citizens travelling to Australia require a visa….so again, why shouldn’t we have the same standards?!?!?”

    Because it is more important for them to come to Barbados and spend their money than it is for us to go there.

    Barbados is a “Tourist” dominated economy.

  7. God Bless David

    True – we are dependent on tourism…but that doesn’t mean that we can’t reserve the right to protect our borders in the same way that other countries do. Austrialia is also dependent on tourism…it’s their biggest industry too. But they still have the visa requirment in place, even if you just want to go their for 5 days to watch a test match…

  8. Hants

    What makes visitors from Australia more “threatening” than visitors from the USA which also requires Barbadians to have a visa for entry?

  9. CURIOUS

    people. We are a bunch of small islands who should not have gotten into this World Cup thing because we cannot afford it. The Visa is needed to help pay for the ‘million how ever much’ it cost security systems that they had to install across the islands to keep the baddies out. And world events like this attract some real baddies. Now maybe Australia can afford to buy these things, but some of us can not.

  10. Pat

    I think for this event a visa is necessary for some countries. It is a good way to keep track of visitors. Apart from Australia requiring a visa to vacation there, overstay your visa by one day, and you are thrown in a jail, not much above what the Americans use at Gitmo Bay.

  11. Justin

    As an Australian coming to the Caribbean for the cricket, I’m not upset that your Governments have enacted this Visa, nor the cost (its costing me 20000 Australian dollars for my six week stay, US$1oo makes no difference). No, what I’m upset about is that they decided to introduce it with 3 months to go, with no prior warning, and worse they don’t even have the systems in place to process the visa’s. I’m very concerned that I won’t have my visa in time. 18 months planning and saving shot down in sight of the finish line

  12. Bajan George

    If hundreds, or even thousands of royally pissed Aussies without visas showed up in Barbados all at the same time, who would be the poor sap assigned to tell them to go home, all in the name of Barbadian sovereignty?

    It would be fun to watch.

  13. Hants

    Justin…. I hope you get your Visa and make the trip to the Caribbean.
    I think Australia will get special attention as a top cricketing nation.

    Try contacting this office about your visa.

    Consulate General of Barbados, Sydney, Australia: +61(0)2 9327 7009

    keep this blog updated on your progress.

    Barbados Government ministers read it and are intelligent enough to help a person who is spending their hard earned money to see the most important sporting event ever in the Caribbean.

  14. The Plumber

    This is an unfortunate consequence of the hosting nations coming together to operate a system of common immigration clearance during the world cup.
    Trinidad requires visas for Australians under normal circumstances, therefore since any Australian entering one of the hosting nations is allowed to travel freely to all, it therefore follows that unless Trinidad rescinds this requirement, a visa will be required to enter any world cup territory.
    This is not a case of Barbados, Antigua etc suddenly requiring Australians to get visas to enter these countries for the first time in some attempt at a cash grab.
    Maybe the question should be asked, why does Trinidad insist on visas for Australians in the first place?

  15. Adrian Loveridge

    Well once again we seem to have grabbed the attention of just about every major Austrialian newspaper and media outlet for all the wrong reasons.
    Visa requirements for Commonwealth citizens but not for others. This latest fiasco even before a locally based visa application office is in operation and just 90 days before hosting the third largest sporting event in the world.

    Being described as a ‘cash grab’ opportunists or ‘pirates of the Caribbean’, when even if the security concept is vaguely understandable, the communication and implementation is appalling.

    Yet! all the involved organisations are supposed to discuss and agree policies.
    All of these have ‘communication specialists’ or public relations personnel, so what has gone wrong?

  16. CURIOUS

    Are the visas absolute requirements because the way I have been hearing it, they will allow persons to travel between the islands without the immigration hastle in each island. Enter the first island clear immigration and then travel on like if it is one state. What happens if a person comes without a visa. Does this mean they can still come but then must clear immigration in each island. Am I understanding it right?

  17. I have seen mentioned that 30,000 visitors are expected for CWC, and that 14 cruise ships are to be moored here as floating hotels.

    More recently there have been reports that 40% of the flights remain unbooked for the CWC period which is surprising.

    Do travel agencies yet have an accurate picture just how many people will be coming.? Far fewer than forecast came for World Cup Golf so it is not an exact science.

    With or without the visa nuisance, getting here from Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand etc. is a long and costly journey. Are our experts counting the thousands who would love to come, or those who will actually make it?

  18. Pat

    Jason, dont fret. They may have a kiosk at the airport where you can buy your visa. Most countries do. For instance, when I go to Egypt, I can either get my visa here from the Embassy, or at the airport in Cairo. In fact, it is cheaper to get it in Cairo.

    Last year my son visited 6 countries in Asia and needed a visa for each and every one.

  19. Eager Reader

    The Aussie Government could use this opportunity to explain why the Australian Embassy in Trinidad is not authorized to issue visas to Caribbean people who wish to travel to Australia. To get a visa for Australia it is necessary to send the passport all the way to Canada.

    I am not at all vexed with the World Cup organizers. Acutally, instead of spending money to set up a visa issuing office in Canada, the Aussies should have to send the passports to a Caribbean island for the visas.

  20. Eager Reader

    Sorry, I meant the CWC could really save the money they are spending to set up an office in Australia (not Canada). The Aussies should have to send their passports down here and suffer the wait like West Indians who want to go to Australia.

  21. John

    Try getting a visa when we are supposed to have one from 15 January – there is no office in the Southern Hemisphere, although there are 2 offices in the USA who do not need visas.

    It all depends on whether Barbados really does want tourism – not just for the Cup, it is certainly not making the Caribbean Islands popular when a lot of people, myself included who cannot get a visa before I leave Australia will have to cancel our visit, at great expense.

  22. g-man

    Eager Reader, I think they are two separate issues.
    The problem is that for you to come to Australia, you know you have to send your passport to Canada and you have someone to contact if you have queries.
    We have nobody to contact and nowhere to send our passports. The requirements comes into effect in two weeks and it apparently will take three weeks to process your visa and then two days for postage back. Do the maths and it is obvious there will be problems.
    I could have sent my passport to get the visa six months ago after I got the tickets IF I had known I had to get the visa and IF there was somewhere to send it.
    I have contacted the T&T Consulate in Sydney a number of times and they have had absolutely no information.
    Regarding the number of visitors above, there are 7000 Australians and 3000 New Zealanders attending the CWC and who will all be in the same situation as John and myself – up shit creek without a paddle.

  23. g-man

    Eager Reader, I think they are two separate issues.
    The problem is that for you to come to Australia, you know you have to send your passport to Canada and you have someone to contact if you have queries.
    We have nobody to contact and nowhere to send our passports. The requirements comes into effect in two weeks and it apparently will take three weeks to process your visa and then two days for postage back. Do the maths and it is obvious there will be problems.
    I could have sent my passport to get the visa six months ago after I got the tickets IF I had known I had to get the visa and IF there was somewhere to send it.
    I have contacted the T&T Consulate in Sydney a number of times and they have had absolutely no information.
    Regarding the number of visitors above, there are 7000 Australians and 3000 New Zealanders attending the CWC and who will all be in the same situation as John and myself – up sh*t creek without a paddle.

  24. Andy

    I am an Australian working and backpacking my way around thw world. I got all of my required visas prior to departure from Australia 6 months ago. I now find out that I have to get this visa. The only problem is I’m in the middle of Europe and not allowed to be without my passport. I have no plans to go back to Australia prior to the World Cup. From the information I have so far, which is really poor, I can’t even go to London and wait around there for them to process my application. That means that at this moment in time I will have to choose between flying half way around the world, quiting my job, staying in Australia for a month and then flying back again or missing the World Cup that I have saved for 4 years to attend.

    I have not issue with countries requiring visas, but I have an issue with the rules changing and being ‘hung out to dry’ it was already very expensive to go to the World Cup, and I was planning on spending some time visiting the region. I now have some very important decisions to make. Either way this will cost me thousands of dollars. Any suggestions?

  25. Rumplestilskin

    Andy et al,

    I am a bajan, but generally we know as little of this as you do.

    I am very surprised that this matter was not dealt with at an early date and reflects badly on the overall planning. Maybe an oversight, but obviously one with serious consequences.

    I will keep my ears tuned to the news here and post an update if I hear one. No promises, as the rules on this trickle down.

  26. Justasking

    I took a look at the ICC website and apart from a press release dated December 20, 2006 apologising for the mess up with issuing Visas for Australians and a promise that all will be resolved I see nothing about which countries require Caricom Special Visas. It just mentions Autralia and New Zealand as part of the release.

    You would think that this important and vital information would be prominently posted. Maybe it is there in plain sight and I just cannot see it.

    If you check http://www.caricom.org/jsp/cwc_2007/caricom_special_visa.jsp?menu=cwc It says all countries EXCEPT the following need this special Visa.

    Canada, France, Germany ,Japan ,Ireland, All CARICOM Nationals except Haiti,
    Italy, South Africa,
    Spain, The Netherlands,
    United Kingdom, United States

    However it continues after the list and says “and any other nationals who already enjoy before 15th January 2007, a form of status conferred by any of the immigration authorities of the 10 countries which form the single domestic space and which is valid until at least 15th May 2007.

    Is this not saying that if the national of a country did not require a Visa prior ot 15th January to visit any of the 10 countries then they would not need the Visa now?

    So if Australians or Newzealanders did not need a Visa before then they do not need one now. If the get the special visa it will as the Caricom website says “This is to ensure ease of travel within the region for all travellers.”

    Someone give the Caricom link a read and post your opinion.

  27. g-man

    Justasking – Australians definitely need the visa. I think the web-site is poorly written. No point ringing the office to clarify why it reads like that as they haven’t been able to answer any of my questions on the other seven occasions I have called them.
    Rumplestiltskin – I think that may be part of the problem, we are all annoyed at this fiasco in Australia, maybe Caribbean citizens don’t know and therefore are putting no pressure on the politicians. Call your local pollie and tell them to sort it out. I’m sure if they start hearing that the voters aren’t happy, they’ll move on the issue quickly.

  28. Rumplestilskin

    I guess by now you have heard that our Caricom ministers, including Mia Mottley state that they are setting up a consul in Australia to deal with this processing.

    Unfortunately, only children under 12 will be exempt from the Visas (thats my understanding) so I expect you all will still be miffed at the Visa cost.

    That said, a consul in Australia will not solve those Aussie’s coming from other parts. The time frame is so short and I believe unfair.

  29. Justasking

    g-man, the whole matter is pathetic and we citizens of Barbados are appalled at the pathetic incpmpetence of all concerned.

    The pressure is going to come from tourism authorities, hotels etc because this Visa requirement is affecting vsititor arrivals and hence their bottom line. In the end dollars and cents rather than commmon sense will force a change. There is already a lot of protest from hoteliers in Jamaica but so far not much here in Barbados.

  30. GoodbyeAntigua

    I am an Australian, living in the UK, who had planned a trip to Antigua for early May (not for the cricket). My travel-agent has just informed me (28Feb07) of the new visa requirements. This $100 fee does not apply to my English friends. I have now cancelled my trip to Antigua and am going to Mauritius instead but I would like to know why these people who depend on tourism think people from the UK and US are better than Australians?? And, how they justify throwing away all those lost tourist dollars they’re now not getting through cancellations?