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Australia issues first time visa quotas for Pacific Islanders

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Source: DevPolicy blog

Sydney, AUSTRALIA — Australia is about to launch a new visa that will for the first time create a Pacific quota in Australia’s permanent migration regime. 3,000 visas will be issued every year for the Pacific Islands and Timor-Leste. It’s a huge opportunity yet awareness of this new visa is low.

The Pacific Engagement Visa or PEV will utilize a ballot. That’s a deliberate decision in order to reduce the skew of visas to the skilled.

The legislation to authorize the visa was passed last year, but regulations have just been issued, and ballot applications are not yet open. The biggest hurdle still to be crossed is the announcement of the division of the 3,000 visas between the countries eligible to participate, namely the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

There are plenty of rumors, and we are anticipating that the great bulk of the available visas will go to PNG, Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. An announcement is expected soon, but no date has been named.

Given the regional support for the visa, and the high-profile nature of this election commitment, it is expected delays will be minimized and the ballot would open in the first half of this year.