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People connections in the Pacific

Pacific Engagement Visa

The Pacific Engagement Visa (PEV) will increase permanent migration from the Pacific and Timor-Leste, growing the diaspora in Australia, strengthening people-to-people links, and encouraging greater cultural, business and educational exchange.

Up to 3,000 visas will be allocated to Pacific islanders annually by a ballot process across participating countries. Those selected in the ballot will be able to apply for permanent residence in Australia.

The PEV is being designed in close consultation with partner governments and Pacific and Timor-Leste communities to ensure the program delivers on shared needs and objectives, and contributes to a peaceful, prosperous, and resilient Pacific family.

Applications for the ballot will be able to be lodged online with the Department of Home Affairs from July 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which countries will be involved?

Priority is being given to countries with limited permanent migration opportunities to Australia, or citizenship rights with New Zealand, France and the United States.

Eligible countries could include Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The Australian Government continues to consult Pacific countries and Timor-Leste on their interest in participating in the program.

What are the eligibility requirements to participate in the PEV?

To be eligible for the PEV, primary applicants will need to:

  • be aged between 18 and 45 years to enter the ballot
  • hold a passport from a participating country
  • have been born in, or have a parent who was born in, a participating country
  • be selected through the ballot process
  • secure a formal full-time job offer in Australia
  • meet English language, character and health requirements

Applicants can include a partner and legally dependent children in their application.

Government consultations will inform further program settings and details, including ballot and visa eligibility requirements. These will be made available closer to the commencement of the program in July 2023.

What is the PEV ballot? 

The ballot is an electronic random selection process that will be managed by the Department of Home Affairs. Successful entrants and their immediate family members will be able to apply for a PEV.

The ballot aims to provide eligible individuals from participating Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste fair and transparent access to the program by randomly selecting ballot participants. This includes providing access to the ballot for existing Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme (PALM) workers in Australia.

What is the cost to enter the PEV ballot?

The charge for entering the ballot is expected to be $25. Registrations will be valid for a year. If the registered person is not selected in that time, a new registration will need to be submitted for participants to enter the next ballot.

Applicants selected through the ballot will be able to apply for the visa within a specified timeframe. This will require paying the associated visa application charge.

How will PEV participants be supported to find employment and prepare for life in Australia?

The Australian Government will establish a service to work directly with successful applicants to connect them with employers in Australia, providing access to a variety of roles at a range of skill levels.

This service provider will also guide successful applicants through the visa application process, deliver culturally and language relevant program outreach and help prepare applicants for life in Australia.

What support services will PEV participants have access to in Australia?

Opportunities for positive community engagement and integration are critical to supporting the shared needs of participants, partner governments, and Australia. The PEV program will include measures to support positive settlement experiences including providing access to a range of benefits to support the cost of raising a family and ease the financial burden of education and training.

This is in addition to the services and support generally available to permanent residents upon arrival in Australia, including access to Australia’s universal health care and public schools.

Will successful applicants have a choice where they would like to reside in Australia?

As this visa is a permanent visa, applicants will be free to choose where they would like to live, work and study in Australia. There will be no restrictions on work location, industry or employer.

How is the PEV different to the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme?

The Pacific Engagement Visa will complement the PALM scheme by offering a permanent visa to citizens of Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste.

The PALM scheme is a temporary migration program that will continue to help meet workforce shortages in rural and regional Australia, support the economic development of Pacific countries, and build skills for when workers return home.

PALM scheme participants in Australia on valid temporary visas will be eligible to enter the Pacific Engagement Visa ballot when registrations open. 

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