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Agreement on new work visa signed in Canberra

THE GOVERNMENTS of Australia and Papua New Guinea have signed an agreement which makes work and holiday visas available for movement between the two countries.

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and PNG Foreign Minister Ano Pala signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday at the 20th annual PNG Ministerial Forum at Parliament House in Canberra.

The agreement provides a new visa system for the two countries whereby university-educated Australians and PNG nationals between the ages 18 and 30 are eligible for an Australia visa to work and holiday in each other's country for up to 12 months.

"This agreement provides a unique opportunity for young adults from partner countries to immerse themselves in a new and different cultural experience," Mr Bowen said

"Work and holiday agreements foster people-to-people links, wider economic ties and continued dialogue between governments.

“The forum itself reinforces our historically strong relationship with PNG, which is based on shared interests, greater economic cooperation, ongoing development assistance, and growing trade and investment links between the two countries."

The work and holiday visa made available under this agreement differs from the Australian working holiday visa in that it is conditional on an applicant's tertiary qualifications, English language skills and ability to gain support from their Government in lodging an application.

Other regional countries that enjoy a reciprocal work and holiday visa arrangement with Australia include Malaysia, Singapore and the United States.

Source: Australian Visa Bureau, 12 October
http://www.visabureau.com/australia/news/12-10-2011/papua-new-guinea-nationals-now-eligible-for-australia-visa.aspx

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