Vanuatu’s Ultimatum to Investors

Vanuatu Minister of Internal Affairs Andrew Napuat
Vanuatu Minister of Internal Affairs Andrew Napuat

All investors and foreigners who are currently residing and working in Vanuatu have three weeks to ensure they are complying with Vanuatu’s Labour and Immigration laws or they will face the full force of the law.

Minister of Internal Affairs Andrew Napuat gave the ultimatum yesterday afternoon.

“I am appealing to all investors, foreigners, who have overstayed or have issues with their residency visas and work permits to come forward within three weeks to rectify their status with the Vanuatu Immigration Services,” the minister stressed.

He said a major operation will be conducted from March, 19, 2018 through to the first week of April and will be undertaken by Department of Labour, Vanuatu Immigration Services and other enforcement agencies.

The ultimatum is applicable to those who are overstaying in the country and are residing or operating without proper documents.

According to records from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the number of overstayers currently stands at 600, however there could be more.

The ministry has stepped up compliance and will continue to stage major checks from time to time.

Border management and Labour Employment services are important services in this Ministry. Vanuatu has benefitted a great deal from two very important government policies.

 “Whilst Labour mobility is the talk of the town and communities together with citizenship investment program, our focus has shifted from our core business which is protection of our borders and protection of our national labour policies or work, the Minister said.

“Assessing the growth and influences together with issues experienced MOIA has re-aligned itself to focus more on its core functions.”

Minister Napuat said, Vanuatu has enjoyed a relaxed environment for too long and the Ministry of Internal Affairs must step up its enforcement.

The warning also extends to all business houses who have not implemented the new minimum wage rate of Vt160 to Vt200 per hour.

Trade Capacity Building Support for MSG Secretariat


The trade and investment policy advisory services of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat in Port Vila, Vanuatu have been boosted through technical support received from the European Union-funded TradeCom II Programme.

Following the launch of the 10-month Project on 14 August 2017, consultants of the Mauritian company Enabling Environments Ltd, comprising Ms Nicole Garraway of Grenada, Mr Alipate Tavo of Tonga and Mr Bertrand Monrozier of Switzerland have been working closely with the Secretariat on the execution of various activities.

The activities of the Project fall under three categories; firstly, the strengthening of the Secretariat’s Trade and Investment Division in effectively monitoring intra-regional and international trade flows; secondly, identifying air and shipping transport connectivity bottlenecks among MSG Member countries and recommending suitable trade facilitation improvements; and thirdly, improving access to trade-related tools and the sharing of trade information. This final activity will result in the development of an online MSG Business Directory.

The consultants met with principal stakeholders from the public and private sectors for in-depth consultations on key activities of the Project during their visits to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Online discussions with stakeholders were also undertaken.

“We welcome the support of TradeCom towards the MSG economic integration process and this particular intervention demonstrates our commitment to dialoguing with both the public and private sectors for policymaking purposes,” MSG Acting Director General, Mr Peter Eafeare said. He added that the intervention was timely as the Melanesian Free Trade Agreement (MFTA) will soon be entering into force, while all four MSG Members are also advancing their commitments to the Trade Facilitation Agreement under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The consultants have just concluded their second mission to the MSG Region and will return for their final mission in February next year. The highlight of the final leg of their mission will be the organisation of a Validation Workshop in Port Vila on 13-14 March 2018, where stakeholder representatives will have the opportunity to review and validate the findings of the consulting team. The online MSG Business Directory will also be presented at the Workshop prior to its launch.

“The outcomes of this intervention, which exemplifies collaboration involving the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, will also contribute to advancing the implementation of the MFTA as well as our Members’ obligations to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement,” Mr Eafeare said. He added that such technical assistance would help streamline the Secretariat’s Trade and Investment work programme priorities with those of MSG Member countries and other regional stakeholders.

For further information, please contact Mr Henry Sanday, the Secretariat’s Trade and Investment Adviser via email,