At the conclusion of Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in Fiji, they have reiterated the need for visa free travel to Australia and New Zealand to reflect a truly integrated region and unity of the Pacific Islands Forum members.
The issue of visa free entry into Australia and New Zealand have been raised by PIF members but with increased movements of people between the islands and the two countries under the labour mobility schemes and the cost that it comes with, FEMM members have reiterated their call in Suva this week.
Solomon Islands fully supports the call as it was represented by His Excellency Joseph Maáhanua, the country’s high commissioner to Fiji.
Responding to a question on the issue, Fiji’s Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance Biman Prasad said the Forum recognises the desire for meaningful regional integration when “we talk about visa free travel is what we are saying essentially is the movement of people to travel will also support businesses and investments.”
“So, visa free travel is important if we want to see a truly integrated region and unity of Pacific Islands Forum members,” he said.
Acquiring visas for the two countries is a very tedious process not only for workers under the schemes but to those wanting to travel through Australia and New Zealand.
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