PAPUA New Guinea Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato has extended reciprocal visa arrangements to the Republic of Indonesia after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

The MoU relating to the reciprocal visa arrangements was signed in Jakarta in January.

It is the second such MoU that PNG has signed, the first being with Israel during the Prime Minister’s official visit last year.

Minister Pato said the MoU was in line with the government’s policy of facilitating travel with key countries to promote people to people relations, tourism, investment and trade.

It’s anticipated the respective immigration agencies of both countries would meet over the next couple of months to conclude a MoU to facilitate travel by holders of ordinary passports by June this year.

Under the new arrangements, diplomats and government officers from both countries would be granted visa on arrival for stays of up to 60 days.

Immigration agencies of both countries will discuss finer details on implementation of the arrangements in the wake of the signing.

Minister Pato said that other countries had approached PNG to conclude similar reciprocal via arrangements.

The PNG Immigration and Service Citizenship Authority has been tasked to conclude the arrangements.

In separate news, Minister Pato announced it had successfully re-established the PNG Consulate in Cairns, Australia through an initiative to improve service delivery.

The consulate, in January, started issuing visas to foreigners travelling to PNG after the successful deployment of the Border Management System by the Australian and PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority (PNG ICSA).

Consular support services will also be provided to PNG citizens living in the North Queensland area.

Minister Pato said the establishment of the Consulate in Carins would assist business communities in PNG and Australia by further enhancing current services provided by the other three established PNG overseas posts in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.

The Consulate’s operations are also expected to further boost PNG’s trade and investment interests in Australia, including the tourism industry’s drive to implement direct international f lights from Cairns to designated provincial ports in the country.

The minister commended the efforts of the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority and the Department of Foreign Affairs for effectively implementing government initiatives through the establishment of vital PNG overseas posts at strategic locations around the world.