The National, Wednesday February 26th, 2014
By PETER SEVARA Jr
THE ban on “visa-on-arrival” will not affect teams in the Queensland Cup competition travelling between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
This is according to Minister for Sports and Pacific Games Justin Tkatchenko, pictured, who said that the PNG Hunters team and resident Queensland sides will not be affected.
Tkatchenko, who is also the Member for Moresby South, said the ban which will come into effect by March 1, 2014, is a result of the Abbott government refusal to return the favor to Papua New Guinea pass holders travelling to Australia. Tkatchenko, following talks with the PNG Immigration Department has reached an amicable solution which is getting multiple entry visas for not only the SP Hunters but for the other 12 teams in the Queensland Cup competition when they fly up for the PNG home games.
“It is all confirmed two weeks ago, that the PNG Hunters, including the other 12 teams in the Queensland Cup have received clearance to travel in and out of PNG. They have been issued multiple entry visas for the next 12 months,” he said. Chief Migration Officer, Mataio Rabura, in an email stated that, “with regards to the ban it is only for Tourist and Business visas and not the other types of visas”.
“The Australian players visiting PNG under the Queensland Cup competition will be issued sportsperson visas, which will be for multiple entries and be valid for 12 months.
“In our discussions with Minister Tkatchenko, we have agreed that all players must apply for visas so that if there are sudden changes, the next player can be called up and can fly with the team rather than be delayed due to a visa issue.
“My understanding is that Australia has considered the same arrangement for PNG players also,” Rabura said.
Meanwhile, National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop requested Tkatchenko look into getting supporters packages for Hunters fans.
Tkatchenko said supporters could apply for a K100 tourist visa as he worked on getting a proper package for supporters.