Australia’s new Pacific Engagement Visa registration opens on 3 June

By and is republished with permission

Up to 3000 Pacific Island and Timor-Leste nationals will be able to register for Australia’s new Pacific Engagement Visa program from 3 June, the Australian government has announced.

It will use an online ballot to select participants, who can then apply for the visa to migrate to Australia as permanent residents.

Applicants must secure a formal ongoing job offer in Australia and meet health and character requirements before being granted a visa.

Countries participating in the first year of the programme include Federated States of Micronesia (50), Fiji (300), Nauru (100), Palau (50), Papua New Guinea (1350), Solomon Islands (150), Timor-Leste (300), Tonga (150), Tuvalu (100), Vanuatu (150), with discussions ongoing with other partners in the region.

“The Albanese government is delivering on our commitment to deepen our connections with the Pacific and Timor-Leste with the Pacific Engagement Visa,” Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said.

Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy said the programme “demonstrates the high value Australia places on its relationship with the Pacific and Timor-Leste”.

He said it would grow Pacific and Timor-Leste diasporas in Australia, “strengthening linkages between our people and encouraging greater cultural, business, economic and educational exchange with Pacific countries”.

Conroy added the program had “transformative potential”, making Australia’s world-class education and training system more accessible for new residents under the Pacific Engagement Visa.

“Through these impacts, and by boosting remittance flows to Pacific countries, the program will also support economic development and welfare in the Pacific.”

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles said the new visa programme was an opportunity to address the under-representation of Pacific Island and Timorese nationals in Australia’s permanent migration programme.

Less than one percent of permanent migrants currently come from the region.

“The programme is in keeping with the Government’s Migration Strategy which identifies deepening Australia’s people-to-people links with the Indo-Pacific as one of eight key actions to reform the migration system,” he said.

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