Gold Coast 2018 chairman Peter Beattie and CGF President Louise Martin thanked the Australian Government for resolving concerns over the visa process ©Twitter

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Louise Martin for reaching a quick resolution over visas for Gold Coast 2018, after concerns were raised at the Chef de Mission seminar in October.

Martin, speaking to insidethegames at the seminar, had claimed the situation posed the “biggest risk to the Games”.

Under the system for the Games, applications had been required to have been made separately for accreditation and visas.

It represented a major move away from previous editions of the multi-sport event, where visas were part of the accreditation process.

Previously, the process has been handled completely by Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs), team managers and Chef de Missions.

There had been fears surrounding individuals being required to apply for their own visas for the Games, including athletes, team officials and guests.

This ranged from a lack of internet access in some countries making it difficult for individuals to fill out applications, to CGAs potentially being in a position where they were unaware whether athletes and team officials have been granted visas for the Games or not.

Speaking at the CGF Coordination Commission press conference here today, Martin confirmed the Australian Government had reverted back to the system used for previous Games.

Concerns over the visa process were raised at the Chef de Mission seminar in October ©Gold Coast 2018
Concerns over the visa process were raised at the Chef de Mission seminar in October ©Gold Coast 2018

“What had happened before, every single person coming to the Games as part of a team, they all had to fill in the application forms themselves,” Martin said.

“As you know in different parts of the Commonwealth, they do not have access to the internet or have the ability to fill out everything.

“Before it had always been the CGAs and the administrative people for each of the countries, who would fill it out.

“We have reverted to that and they have asked three extra questions on the online form.

“That has been accepted by everyone, including our CGAs who are very happy with it.

“To me, that is a big success.”

“A very special thank you to the Federal Government and immigration department for changing that visa application forms.

“That has made a big difference to the CGAs and they all now feel you want them here in the country.

“I am pleased to say the visa applications are now flooding in fast and furious, which is really good news.

“A big thank you from the federation.”

Gold Coast 2018 chairman Peter Beattie reiterated Martin’s position, thanking the Government for their swift action to resolve the issue.

He offered special thanks to Peter Dutton, Australia’s Immigration Minister, for his efforts to make the change.

Around 6,600 athletes from 70 nations and territories are expected to attend next year’s Games, which will run from April 4 to 15.