AUSTRALIA is responding to our government’s call for visa waivers for citizens of the Solomon Islands by expediting visa processing and providing 3,000 permanent migration visas to its Pacific family each year.
Speaking to the media today (9e August 2022) visiting Australian Minister for International Development and Pacific Defense Industry Minister, the Honorable Pat Conroy, said he had already conveyed this message to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
A message the minister said Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also delivered during his visit to the Pacific Islands Forum meeting last month.
“We have to deal with the backlog of visas that we inherited from the last government,” Mr Conroy said.
In June this year, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Honorable Jeremiah Manele, called on Australia and New Zealand to consider granting a reciprocal visa waiver for Solomon Islands passport holders.
Minister Manele made the call when he met with New Zealand Foreign Minister Hon. Nanaia Mahutu and Minister Conroy on the sidelines of CHOGM in Kigali, Rwanda.
Mr Conroy said Australia offered a Pacific Engagement visa for the Pacific.
“For the first time in Australia’s history, we will have a permanent migration visa for just one region – the Pacific – where 3,000 permanent migration points will be awarded to people in the Pacific each year to build our connections between peoples, and this is something that is an important initiative that I will be working on with Immigration Minister Andrew Giles,” Conroy said.