Australia will process travel visa applications from Papua New Guinea citizens within seven days, says Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

“We are welcoming Papua New Guineans and friends to Australian shores,” she said.

“It is important to expand opportunities for Papua New Guineans to enter the Australian labour market including increasing training and skilled labour under the Pacific engagement visa.”

In 2023, Australia and PNG ministers agreed to process at least 75 percent of completed visa applications within 14 days.

It was first reduced from 30 days to 14 days, and now seven days.

“Efficient and speedy visa issuing arrangements would help to underpin labour, business and broader people to people connections.

“A range of steps will be taken to improve the respectful systems in place, but for now we are implementing our new approach to the region and we are pleased to allocate the largest support to PNG.

“We stand as testament to our partnership, friendship and unique status as PNG is the only country in the world which we have a ministerial forum with.

“I am very proud of the work my Government is doing to ensure we put first nations’ perspectives at the heart of foreign Australia’s foreign policy.

“We stand ready to commit in any way so what we have recommended in 2023 together will be delivered in 2024.”

PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko said to further support economic, business and people to people connections, “we welcome the new visa initiative for the pacific island countries”.

“This opens up opportunities for more Papua New Guineans to enter Australia under work and training arrangements,” he said.