Papua New Guinea's retaliatory step over 'Visas on Arrival spat' with Australia

February 20, 2014

Papua New Guinea's retaliatory step over 'Visas on Arrival spat' with Australia

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has withdrawn the privilege of ‘visas on arrival’ which was earlier granted to all Australians. So now, all Australians intending to visit Papua New Guinea would need to apply for a ‘visitor visa’. It appears that this move was a retaliation to its neighbor, Australia, denying the facility of ‘visas on arrival’ to its own citizens. This new visa regulation would come into effect from March 1st, 2014, and so all Australians seeking a ‘short-duration single entry visitor visa’, or a ‘conditional employment visa‘ ought to apply at their nearest PNG consulate before their departure to that country.   

Mataio Rabura, chief migration officer of PNG, has signed an official statement outlining details of this new ban. And, the official communication about this ban was confirmed by the PNG consul general in Sydney. And so, as the next step, all of the international airlines have been informed to not let or permit Australians without visas to board flights into PNG. And, those Australians who board flights to PNG will be flown back immediately.

The background to this ban is as follows. Bilateral talks were held between Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop and PNG’s foreign minister Rimbink Pato last December with PNG seeking ‘visa on arrival’ facility for its own citizens. But, these talks failed with Australia cold shouldering the official request made during those talks. But, PNG had decided to wait so that Australia could reconsider its official decision. But, a reconsideration and a positive decision as expected did not happen with the foreign minister Julie Bishop rebuffing PNP’s PM and denying the reciprocal facility sought, during last month’s meeting and talks between them.

Now, with the new PNG ban officially in force, the following categories of Australian citizens will only be granted the facility of ‘visa on arrival’: i) those citizens who are on cruise ships, or, ii) those who are flying into PNG or out of it, to board or depart a liner, or, iii) those in transit for a period of less than eight hours in all.        


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