Radio New Zealand reports that PNG Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato proposes to discuss the possibility of Australia and New Zealand granting PNG passport holders visa on arrival status.
The news came about after PNG agreed to lift the ban on visa on arrival for Australian passport holders.
The chances of being granted visa on arrival is a difficult one for PNG. Here’s what we think might be some of the issues why the visa on arrival request is unlikely to be granted.
- Most developed countries are very concerned about their border control. The policies they set are based on their own needs more than the needs of the requesting country. Australia and New Zealand have more tighter policies and enforcement on border control.
- Most developed countries consider the cost and benefits of granting visa on arrival to a certain passport holder. What kind of benefits will PNG provide these countries if it were to be granted visa on arrival status? Take for an instance Japan. A few years ago many countries welcomed Japan with a more open visa on arrival policy. Much of this was due to Japanese travelling and spending more and the hope that by granting them visa on arrival Japanese would visit more and spend more in the country they are visiting. Furthermore, Japan were considered experts in the area of technology and the visiting country could benefit from these expertise. What form if benefit (if any) will Papua New Guineans bring to either Australia or New Zealand?
- While Papua New Guinea is agreeing to grant visa on arrival to Australia and New Zealand an expectation of reciprocity is not automatic. As mentioned above in items 1 and 2, there are other impending issues that must be considered in its entirety. It can be a one-sided affair. PNG needs to issue more countries visa on arrival status. Not because it expects those countries to do the same, but rather PNG needs passport holders from those countries to visit and spend their money in our economy and therefore contribute to building our economy.
- Australia already has a tight foreign policy. You only have to look at their approach to boat people to know how serious they are about people entering their country. PNG is a close neighbor to Australia and is a key figure in terms of border control.
- Papua New Guinea has a high crime rate, high unemployment rate, high illiteracy rate among other social concerns. For Australia and New Zealand to allow visa on arrival, these issues will no doubt be discussed at great length. The risk of having an influx of people who bring with them these social concerns is so high, either country would be reluctant to grant visa on arrival and take on these social issues and responsibilities.
- At a time when Papua New guinea’s currency is getting weaker by the month, overseas countries are reluctant to open the door on citizens bringing a much weaker currency into their economy. A weaker currency is unlikely to be of benefit to the Australian and New Zealand economy.
We’re not writing-off the chances of PNG being granted visa on arrival by Australia and New Zealand entirely but it is an uphill battle.
What PNG should concentrate on is finding ways to bring in more Australians and New Zealanders to Papua New Guinea for tourism purposes and getting them to spend more here. After all, tourism benefits more off the grass roots, the money stays here and builds our economy.
What do you think? Should PNG be granted visa on arrival status in Australia / New Zealand?