Deepening connections in our region through the Pacific Engagement Visa

  • Joint media release with:
  • The Hon Andrew Giles MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs
  • The Hon Pat Conroy, Minister for International Development and the Pacific

The Australian Senate has today passed legislation to enable the delivery of the Albanese government's election commitment of a new Pacific Engagement Visa.

The Pacific Engagement Visa will enable up to 3,000 nationals of Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste to migrate to Australia as permanent residents each year.

It will create new opportunities for the people of the Pacific and Timor-Leste to live, work and be educated in Australia - strengthening diaspora communities, and encouraging greater cultural, business and educational exchange.

The delivery of this commitment responds directly to long-standing requests from these countries for greater access to Australia for their people.

Legislation passed by the Senate today will enable a pre-application ballot to be used to randomly select applicants for the Pacific Engagement Visa program. If successful in the ballot, applicants would then be required to satisfy criteria including having a job offer in Australia.

The ballot has been welcomed by Pacific partners. It provides a fair and transparent process and ensures equal access for participants of any skill level and occupation, to avoid brain drain from the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

Further legislative amendments before the Senate extend support to participants to help with the cost of education, training and raising a family in Australia.

The Government looks forward to the Pacific Engagement Visa program commencing in 2024, once all remaining legislative and administrative arrangements have been approved, including by the Governor-General in Federal Executive Council.

The Government thanks the parliamentarians who have engaged in this discussion constructively and thoughtfully, particularly those on the cross-bench. It is disappointing the Liberals and Nationals are still failing to listen to Pacific priorities.

For further information visit Pacific Engagement Visa

Quote attributable to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong:

“We have heard the calls from Pacific leaders for deeper connections and easier movement around the region.

“The Pacific Engagement Visa will strengthen people-to-people links, and encourage greater cultural, business and educational exchange.

“In delivering this new visa, we want to make a uniquely Australian contribution to building a stronger and more united Pacific family.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Andrew Giles MP:

“The Pacific Engagement Visa will deliver on the Government's commitment to deepen our people to people links across the Pacific family.

“The legislation passed today will contribute to the stability, security, and prosperity of our region and demonstrates that stronger Pacific partnerships focussed on shared needs and priorities are in Australia's national interests.”

Quote attributable to Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy:

“The Pacific Engagement Visa is a substantive expression of Australia's special relationship with the Pacific and Timor-Leste and has been welcomed by partners across the region.

“The passage of this legislation demonstrates Australia is listening to Pacific priorities and delivers on its commitments.

“A ballot ensures we do not deprive the Pacific of skills and talent by providing broad access to the program for Pacific and Timor-Leste citizens.”

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