Australian government seeks to expand closer ties to Pacific with new regional migration policies

Speaking in Suva, Fiji, Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced Australia would allocate 3,000 permanent migration slots annually to Pacific Island applicants. Under this 'Pacific Engagement Visa,' more Pacific Islanders will be able to live in Australia and become permanent residents.

Pat Conroy, Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, emphasized that migration and cultural ties will be key to the Australian government’s approach to the Pacific region. 

Existing temporary labor mobility programs in Australia already allow significant employment and remittance opportunities to some Pacific islands, but these expanded policies signal closer engagement between Australia and the Pacific under the new Labor government.

Evaluations have shown that skills learned in Australia were adopted in program participants' home countries. A survey by seven academics in Australia demonstrated participants accumulated useful skills and knowledge in agriculture, as well as significant earnings. The study, supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), showed that 46% of participants had applied their knowledge on their return home.

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