Chief Migration Officer, Stanis Hulahau said in order to repatriate the seven PNG nationals stranded in Tuvalu, diplomatic dialogue and approval by the Tuvalu government and all other transit countries would be necessary.
Mr Hulahau said, Covid-19 travel restrictions by the Tuvaluan Government and transit countries may have a direct impact on their repatriation and it must be successfully negotiated at the Diplomatic level to allow their safe return.
“At Immigration we understand that this issue is a consular matter that requires negotiations and approval from the Government of Tuvalu and the transiting countries for these men to successfully pass through,” said Hulahau.
Mr Hulahau says the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is the sole Government agency responsible for providing consular assistance to PNG Nationals in such situations overseas.
“I am sure DFAIT has progressed this matter and started negotiations with the respective governments for the safe departure, transit and arrival of the 7 men back to PNG.”
Mr Hulahau explained that ICA has no direct role in negotiating their return but can only assist DFAIT to confirm their citizenship status and identification and validity of their passports.
He said ICA stands ready to provide alternative travel documents to the seven men if their passports are no longer valid or lost.