Solomon Islands represented at MSG Heads of Immigration meeting in Samoa

Solomon Islands represented at MSG Heads of Immigration meeting in Samoa


Solomon Islands has recently joined Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu at the inaugural Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Heads of Immigration Meeting at the sidelines of the Pacific Immigration Development Community (PIDC) workshop in Samoa on 12 March 2024.

The meeting was opened virtually by the Director General of the MSG Secretariat Leonard Louma who acknowledged the PIDC Board for allowing the MSG Heads of Immigration to convene at the sidelines of the PIDC workshop.

The MSG meeting was chaired by Vanuatu’s Director of Immigration, Mr. Jeffery Markson who also chaired of PIDC workshop.

The meeting was informed that the MSG is committed to progress the MSG Leaders Free Trade Agreement (MFTA) and MOU on Skilled Movement Scheme (SMS) for MSG members to fill in shortages of skilled labour and employment within the MSG Member countries.

A number of outcomes and recommendations were made at the conclusion of the meeting as a way forward to achieve the goals set by MSG Leaders.

The meeting informed the MSG Heads of Immigration that MSG Senior officials have agreed to, and obtained the approval of the MSG Foreign Ministers, for the initial idea of the MSG Travel Card to explore possibilities of starting with the MSG Card and Business Travel Card, tailored along similar lines as the APEC Business Card and to seek guidance from the MSG Heads of Immigration on ways and means on how best to develop and implement the MSGBTC.

One of the outcomes reached was the MSG Heads of Immigration supported the MSG Business Travel Card (MSGBTC) initiative and acknowledged that PNG developed the concept of MSGBTC and the policy matrix presented during the meeting.

The Heads of Immigration also noted the International Organization for Migration ACP-EU Migration Action report dated August 2018 on the proposal to improve Labour Mobility in the MSG countries. The report further supports MSG free Trade Agreement, labour mobility, MSG Business travel and investments.

The meeting also confirmed that the MSG Heads of Immigration tasked the Secretariat and MSG Heads of Immigration to establish a MSG Head of Immigration Regular Meeting in the calendar of MSG to progress the MSG leaders Regional Free Agreements and further agreed upon establishing the MSG Head of Immigration Senior officials under the MSG Free Trade Agreement and to meet regularly to develop the MSGBTC and labour mobility schemes.

The MSG Heads of Immigration also agreed to limit the MSGBTC to target groups such as Government officials, business persons, NGOs, regional and international organizations within the MSG countries.

On the MOU on Skilled Movement Scheme (SMS) the MSG Heads of Immigration recognized the Skilled Movement Scheme (SMS) and the MSG Free Trade Agreement (MFTA) for nationals to take up employment to fill in the shortages in the MSG member countries, without compromising national policies, on health and safety and minimum working conditions and border security.

The meeting also noted the MOU endorsed by Leaders in 2012 and signed by Fiji, PNG, Vanuatu and the FLNKS as a permanent observer and Solomon Islands signed later for the MSG skilled personnel who frequently travel within the MSG sub-region undertaking legitimate business, government, intergovernmental, and non-governmental organization activities.

The meeting concluded by acknowledging the template provided by APEC Business Travel Card appears presenting good starting point to develop the MSGBTC.

Solomon Islands was represented by the Acting Director of Immigration Mr Chris Akosawa.


– Government Communication Unit

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