The Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele calls on Australia and New Zealand to consider providing reciprocal visa waiver for Solomon Islands passport holders.
Minister Manele made the call when he met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, Nanaia Mahutu and the Australian Minister for International Development and Pacific, Pat Conroy at the margins of the CHOGM in Kigali, Rwanda recently.
A government statement says the call for reciprocal visa waiver is not new.
“Solomon Islands through previous governments made the call but there was no positive response or consideration,” the statement said.
“Solomon Islands have reciprocal waiver visa arrangements with other countries and recently with India,” it added.
“Currently, Australian and New Zealand passport holders enjoy visa on arrival for tourist and business purposes when travelling to Solomon Islands.
“In contrast, Solomon Islanders must apply for a visa with big fees. The visa application process is lengthy with no guarantee a visa can be granted,” the statement said.
In his call, Manele said: “As a Pacific family, we care for each other and we look after each other in times of need so it would be most grateful if our two neighbors consider granting reciprocal visa waiver for us.”
The statement said both Ministers take note of the call and assured Foreign Minister Manele that they will further look into the request.