8 Nov 2012

EU aims to drop short term visas for most Pacific people

2:28 pm on 8 November 2012

The European Union says it's hopeful tourism and trade will be boosted in the Pacific as it moves towards freeing up visa requirements.

A senior EU official in Suva says the proposed waiver for visas for ten Pacific countries comes as the EU considers there are minimal risks of illegal immigration or threats to public safety from the region.

Adam Janssen says the aim is to do away with visas for stays up to 90 days, and bilateral agreements for reciprocity will be negotiated.

"It will result also in more tourist flows and traffic. And hopefully serve also the economies of these countries as well, the increased travel and trade relations. I mean clearly, you know we are on the other side of the planet, so there is not mass travel in both directions but hopefully this will improve."

Adam Janssen says people from Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu will benefit from the scheme which is likely to be actioned within a year.

He says Fiji and Papua New Guinea are not included in the proposal at this stage as they are considered to be in a different category due to their larger populations.