TIRED of queuing at Australian airports after disembarking from the plane? Good news: Singaporean travellers now have access to the SmartGate facility at major Australian airports. Darren Boon reports.
Singaporean students in Australia can now enjoy faster immigration clearance and bypass long queues after the Australian Government extended the use of the SmartGate facility to eligible Singaporeans permanently.
This change will benefit the estimated 9,000 Singapore students in Australia.
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Senator Michaelia Cash announced this move on Monday following what she described as a “successful trial” since late February.
The senator hailed this decision a result of “the strong trusted partnership between Australia and Singapore and the benefits of close collaboration”.
To be eligible for the service, Singaporean nationals would also need to be flying into Australia, travel on a valid Singapore ePassport, and be aged 16 years or older.
SmartGate facilities are available at Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast and Darwin airports.
Monash University student Meryl Liew told Meld that he would use the SmartGate facility, since it allows for “no more queues, faster clearance of immigration”.
Singaporeans of Victoria president Chun Tin Yen also welcomed the announcement.
SmartGate saves time, and would make it efficient and convenient for Singaporeans to enter Australia, she said.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement welcoming the Australian Government’s decision.
“SmartGate, which offers self-service passport processing options in Australia’s major airports, will facilitate travels by Singaporeans to Australia,” the statement said.
The statement added that the decision reflects the close bilateral ties enjoyed by both countries and “will further enhance the already-close-people-to-people links between the two countries”.