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Australia Visa Conflict with Papua New Guinea

January 2014, 22
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Australia Visa Conflict
Australian politician, Julie Bishop, is seeking confirmation from officials in Papua New Guinea, due to the government of the country revoking the visas of Australians who arrive in the country. They are retaliating because the Australian government do no offer Papua New Guinea nationals equal entitlements on visas. The executive national council of Papua New Guinea decided to request that Australian citizens must make an application for a visa, prior to departing. The change which has been made to the requirement, means the applicant must obtain the minister of Papua New Guinea's signature, the signature needs to be authorised. The recent changes are anticipated to remain in place prior to the time which Australia reply positively to the government of Papua New Guinea and grant citizens the rights to obtain a visa upon arrival.

Former Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, made an official visit in may 2013, to Papua New Guinea. During her visit she stated that she would aim to ease the travel process to Australia for citizens of Papua New Guinea. Peter O'Neil, prime minister of PNG hoped to persuade her to include the country on the eligible country list for entitlement of being able to gain an Australian visa after arrival.

Since then, the Australian government have brought in a system where visa applications are to be made online, this allows a quicker processing time for visa applications and designated lanes for arrival at Cairns and Brisbane airports,  for those from PNG. Issuing visas upon arrival, could bring great underlying issues to the airports, along with financial difficulties for PNG and Australia. Recent reports conclude that after the ban has been signed off, every Australian other than those who arrive on a cruise ship, will be required to make an application for the visa whilst still in Australia.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have said that they had been informed about the recent reports, but was unable to verify the accuracies of the information. Any policy which includes information of border controls in Papua New Guinea, are concerns for the government of PNG to address. Official advice regarding a time which the policy is expected to be carried out, has yet to be received by the government of Australia.

During the whole of 2013, approximately 19,000 citizens from Australia made a visit to Papua New Guinea, either for tourism reasons or business matters, each one of them obtained a visa on arrival.

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