12 October 2011

Papua New Guinea nationals now eligible for Australia visa

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The Governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG) have signed an agreement which makes work and holiday visas available for movement between the two neighbouring countries.

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Australians and Papua New Guinea nationals can now work and holiday in each others' countries for up to 12 months under a new government agreement.

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen met with PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Ano Pala signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today at the 20th annual PNG Ministerial Forum at Parliament House in Canberra.

The MoU provides a new visa system for the two countries, whereby university-educated Australians and PNG nationals between the ages 18 and 30 will now be eligible for an Australia visa to work and holiday in each other's country for up to 12 months.

"This agreement provides a unique opportunity for young adults from partner countries to immerse themselves in a new and different cultural experience," Mr Bowen said

"Work and holiday agreements foster people-to-people links, wider economic ties and continued dialogue between governments. The forum itself reinforces our historically strong relationship with PNG, which is based on shared interests, greater economic cooperation, ongoing development assistance, and growing trade and investment links between the two countries."

The work and holiday visa made available under this agreement differs from the Australian working holiday visa in that it is conditional on an applicant's tertiary qualifications, English language skills and ability to gain support from their Government in lodging an application.

Other regional countries that enjoy a reciprocal work and holiday visa arrangement with Australia include Malaysia, Singapore and the United States.

The Australian Government is currently in negotiations with PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill - who has Australian heritage - over the proposal to establish an Australian immigration detention centre on Manus Island in PNG.

Australian Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy that specialises in helping people lodge applications with the Australian High Commission.

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