Pacific migration with dignity, the key in new Aust policy brief

Photo: New research finds scholarships and persistence are paying off in efforts to get more women in the Pacific into senior government jobs. Photo: RNZI/Sally Round

There is a call for Australia to mirror New Zealand’s Pacific Quota to help Pacific Islanders fleeing the impacts of global warming.

A new policy brief from the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law and the Lowy Institute advocates such a move, among the slew of programmes needed to combat the threat posed by climate change.

Co-author Jonathan Pryke says migration with dignity has to be part of the solution.

He said Australia should take the lead from New Zealand and implement a Pacific category visa so people can migrate permanently.

The Samoa Quota and the Pacific Access Category Visa, allow up to 1750 a year to settle permanently in New Zealand and Mr Pryke says Australia could start at a similar level.

“Those numbers add up over time, over decades, and climate change isn’t going to, or we hope, isn’t going to affect communities overnight – this going to take time to really have a profound impact,” Jonathan Pryke said.

“So much for Australia to start a scheme now, to start a scheme, build it over time and yeah, we expect numbers to be at least what New Zealand is advocating for.”

The New Zealand schemes offer up to 1100 permanent visas to Samoans, 250 to Tongans and Fijians, and 75 to i-Kiribati and Tuvalu citizens each year.

Source: RNZ