Home News Manele reiterates call for visa free to Australia and New Zealand

Manele reiterates call for visa free to Australia and New Zealand

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Manele speaking in Parliament.
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Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Jeremiah Manele has repeated the call for a more open border arrangement on visas with Australia and New Zealand with Solomon Islands.

The call for a visa free for Solomon Islanders and the wider Pacific has been raised this year on several engagements in the region and on Friday Manele used his final statement in Parliament to put that on record once more.

Speaking during the motion of sine die in the 11th House’s final meeting, Manele outlined the number of countries that Solomon Islands signed reciprocal visa waiver arrangements with in the past four years and hoped “our nearest neighbours” follow suit.

“I sincerely hope our immediate neighbours, Australia and New Zealand can have a more open border arrangement with Solomon Islands. A reciprocal visa arrangement with Australia and New Zealand will give the Pacific a true meaning of family,”said the minister of foreign affairs.

 He announced that during his time, Solomon Islands had signed reciprocal visa waiver arrangement with India, Morocco, China, Indonesia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates in addition to the EU and Japan, which are in place for a number of years.

Manele also made reference to Henley and Partners Passport Index that ranked Solomon Islands passport 38th in the world.

Singapore is ranked number 1, where passport holders can travel to 193 countries, the entire members of the UN. However, for Solomon Islands we can travel to 134 countries in the world visa free.

Solomon Islands is the top Pacific Islands country that its passport holders can travel to 134 countries without visa, the next is Samoa to 132 countries.

Meanwhile Solomon Islanders travelling to Australia and New Zealand have to endure the challenges of applying either via online or filling in several pages as part the application and have to wait for an unknown period before a visa is granted or rejected.

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