PNG, Australia Look To Review Visa Arrangement
Australia and Papua New Guinea have discussed in the 27th Australia PNG Ministerial forum the need to review the current visa arrangements for both countries.
Prime ministers James Marape and Scott Morrison, at the inaugural leaders’ dialogue, highlighted the need to review the current visa arrangement a proposed uniform system similar to Australia and New Zealand border administration and infrastructure development.
This was an important issue for Papua New Guinea which was also highlighted during the ministerial forum in Port Moresby this week.
During the leaders’ dialogue Mr Marape raised concern over Australia’s current online visa process which was too cumbersome and costly and the need for a reciprocal visa arrangement which should be immediately addressed.
A PNG-Australia joint technical working group on travel facilitation was established to identify opportunities to improve entry processes between PNG and Australia.
In 2017 Australia provided access to their smart gate automated border gates at their international airports for departing passengers who do not hold an e-passport, this includes Papua New Guinea.
PNG looks forward to any future announcements where its citizens can also use the automated border gates on arrival at Australian airports under Australia’s seamless traveller program. PNG is Australia’s most important and immediate neighbour.
Australia offers huge opportunities for PNG in terms of its development in education and training, commerce, business, exports, employment, sports cooperation, cultural exchange, people-to-people links and so forth.
It was noted that PNG needed to take full advantage of these opportunities for the development of the country.
However, the major impediment that stands on the way is the difficult and cumbersome processes that PNG citizens encounter in obtaining Australian visa to travel to Australia. The two countries have established the joint technical working group on travel facilitation to address this issue.
It is in PNG’s national interest to be proactive and work with Australia to address this important issue of great concern to the citizens of our country.
The discussions should include putting in place appropriate infrastructure at the border to facilitate visa on arrival similar to that which Australia had with New Zealand under the Trans-Tasman Arrangement.
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