Australia opens new Visa Application Centre in Vanuatu

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Australian immigration has opened a new Australian Visa Application Centre (AVAC) for visa applicants in Vanuatu.

The new AVAC is located on the ground floor of the Rossi Ocean Walk. This will make it easier for Vanuatu citizens wishing to apply for Australian visas. Instead of going up the hill to the guarded entrance of the Australian Chancellery, Vanuatu citizens can apply for visas right in the centre of town.

The new centre will be open from from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm from Monday to Friday.

"While the method of lodging applications will change, all applications will continue to be assessed by the Visa and Immigration Offices at the Australian High Commission in Port Vila and Suva, in accordance with Australian Migration and Legislation and Policy" said Australia's Acting High Commissioner to Vanuatu Charlene Watego.

According to the Principal Migration Officer at the High Commission in Suva, Nicholas Dynon, the new centre will help to improve Australia's visa services in Vanuatu, especially to people wanting to work in Australia under Australia's Pacific Seasonal Workers Program.

The Pacific Seasonal Workers Program will be open to employers in the horticultural industry and seasonal workers from East Timor, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu from 1 July 2012. Under this program Pacific seasonal workers:
  • are able work in Australia for four to six months
  • may return to work in future years, if they comply with visa conditions
  • are limited to working with Approved Employers
  • must maintain private health insurance during their stay
  • are not permitted to apply for another visa while in Australia
  • need to pay for own living expenses, other incidentals and part of their international and domestic travel
  • are not be able to bring dependants with them
  • must be aged between 21–45 years. Citizens of Kiribati must be aged between 25–40 years.
"Basically it's a regional move by the Department of Immigration to improve its level of client service in Vanuatu, Fiji, New Zealand, Papual New Guinea and elsewhere," added Mr. Dynon.

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