MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Milner Tozaka has raised the visa issue with his counterpart from Papua New Guinea (PNG), Rimbink Pato in Honiara yesterday.
This came after returning Solomon Islands’ students to PNG Institutions have expressed disappointment over the delay of visa processing in Port Moresby.
Tozaka said, the problem came about because the visas are processed in Port Moresby and allocated to students on annual basis.
He hopes Mr Pato will address the visa issue when he returns back to his country.
However, Tozaka believes the visa issue should be addressed if the new PNG chancery at Town ground is completed.
Almost all the SI government sponsored students studying in PNG are expected to arrive late for the start of their academic classes this month.
The National Training Unit (NTU) in the Ministry of Education had already sent every visa applications to Port Moresby last week for processing.
PNG High Commissioner Office in Honiara has assured the students that their visas are expected to be ready by this week.
The office said, one of the reasons for the delay was slowness of the institutions in PNG to provide acceptance letters of SI students to Solomon Islands High Commission office in Port Moresby.
This is one of requirements of the visa applications before the Immigration department can process them.
Solomon Star understands the institutions have already responded to the request of NTU.
PNG has shifted the visa processing back to Port Moresby February last year after a standoff with Australia.
This resulted in PNG banning visas on arrival for all Australian visitors, after the Abbott government refused to return the favour to their nearest neighbour.
By EDDIE OSIFELO