Islands change visa rules, raise fees

27/01/2014

Business travellers to Nauru and Papua New Guinea would do well to familiarise themselves with changing visa rules and fees before planning their journeys. Nauru has raised the cost of business visas from A$400 to A$6000. <!--more-->While the change is yet to be set out formally in official regulations, media reports have been making the rounds that the visa change is to be implemented soon.

Visa fees now constitute Nauru’s biggest revenue source for the country’s government, expected to mop up A$18 million for the national budget. The country already receives A$1000 a month per refugee it hosts on behalf of the Australian Government at its refugee processing centre on the island. This constitutes about half the total visa revenue.

Businesses people from overseas, particularly from China who have set up small enterprises selling food and fuel in the island nation fear they would simply find it economical to run their businesses in the country and would have no option but to leave.

Meanwhile, media reports say Papua New Guinea might cancel its ‘visa on arrival’ arrangement for Australian nationals including businesspeople travelling from Australia to Papua New Guinea. If and when this happens, Australians will have to obtain visas for PNG before they leave Australia. PNG has already banned visa on arrival for all African countries, Middle Eastern countries and all Caribbean island states besides Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Russian nationals, among others.

Last year media reports said the PNG Government was thinking in terms to revoking this arrangement for Australian nationals since Australia did not have a similar reciprocal arrangement for PNG nationals entering Australia.

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