Vanuatu reviews immigration and labour policies


Vanuatu’s Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) is undertaking a comprehensive review of immigration and labour policies and legislation to create a system that is attractive to investors and benefits the private sector.

The Acting Director General of the Ministry, Leith Veremaito confirmed last week that the Ministry is determined to create an environment that facilitates investments and protects the domestic labour force.

This is in response to pressure from the private sector to address the impact of labour mobility. The concern is that the country may lose many skilled workers to the labour mobility programmes.

Last week, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Christophe Emelee signed the Emergency Employment Visa Order. This new visa arrangement is aimed at easing labour mobility, thereby ensuring that the programme does not adversely affect the current domestic labour force.

To ensure that the labor programme is effective and does not impact the local domestic workforce significantly, the Ministry is also conducting a full review of the labour programme, with the assistance of the World Bank. The aim is to create a system that is beneficial to investors and the private sector while protecting the local labour force.

At least 1, 500 foreign workers are expected to come and work in Vanuatu under this new visa arrangement through the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The MOIA has urged the private sector to work closely with them and respect the staff conducting their own process of work. The Ministry has emphasised the importance of submitting all required documents and information promptly to avoid delays in the application process.

The visa application process will be completed within five days of the application being lodged. The Ministry has thanked Immigration Department and Labour Department for their assistance in implementing this policy.

The private sector has already submitted a list of required employees in different categories or sectors, mainly in managerial positions. The list was sent through the Minister and Finance to determine the areas needed in the workforce. The Ministry’s review of immigration and labour policies and legislation is expected to attract more investment and improve the country’s economy.