Streamlined visa access for PNG citizens to visit Australia

It will be easier for Papua New Guineans to apply for immigration visas in order to come to Australia through the development of streamlined electronic visas – a move that has been welcomed by the business community.

The ABC reports that the Australia Papua New Guinea Business Council president Peter Taylor has welcomed the move, which will see applicants fill out the paperwork for electronic visas over the internet.

Because of the difficulty to obtain a visa, PNG residents have often become frustrated by such a thing and as a result, some business meetings between companies from the two nations have been held in places like Singapore.

Mr Taylor told the public broadcaster that it would be great if this initiative went further by allowing flights between Cairns and PNG cities such as Madang, Lae and Rabaul to take place – currently any flights between Australian and PNG have to go through Port Morseby.

He commented: “This announcement of the e-visa means that this system will be similar to others that are in place around the world.

“For example, when you want to go to the US you just fill out a visa application online which just streamlines the whole process.”

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has highlighted the importance of increasing the efficiency of these visa arrangements at the 21st annual PNG-Australia Ministerial Forum.

Discussions between the two countries took place where the two ministers for foreign affairs from both nations looked at streamlining visa arrangements.

The island nation has agreed to implement the Work and Holiday Maker Program, which will see 100 young people from each country to work and visit in an attempt to strengthen ties between Australia and PNG.

There was also an agreement that Australia would host an Emerging Leaders Dialogue so that younger generations from both countries can see the importance of the relationship and conite on the traditional of partnership.

Foreign minister Bob Carr said Australia and PNG have a strong and long lasting relationship and are committed to working together in different ways to improve the bond.

He elaborated: “We look forward to close cooperation over the coming year as we take action to implement today’s commitments and look forward to our next Ministerial Forum to be hosted by Australia in 2013.”

Source: Migration Alliance