The Government of Palau continues to take steps to improve its immigration and border requirements after successfully completing a one-week national consultation by undertaking a desktop review of its current Immigration Act and its legislative framework. The one-on-one national consultations were held from 24-28 April, 2023 in the Republic of Palau. It was organized and funded by the Pacific Immigration Development Community (PIDC) under their legislation modernization program.

The first initiation of the consultation included the PIDC Secretariat Mr. Akuila Ratu and Mr. Peter Speldewinde, Expert Consultant, meeting with H.E. Surangel Whipps, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau. The President discussed the importance of having up-to-date legislation as immigration is integral to the nation’s economic growth. Modernizing our immigration legislation will help us responsibly manage our border and ensure our country’s national borders are safe and secure.

According to John Tarkong, Jr., Director, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP), we are working in collaboration with the PIDC to review Palau’s Immigration Act in relation to other laws. The consultation included briefings with government and public-sector stakeholder officials and they highlighted the need to review and strengthen the Act and to ensure we remain responsive to evolving migration trends and patterns in the Pacific and beyond to safeguard our country’s national borders.

The consultation comes at a time when Palau has increased the number of flights and is preparing to manage an influx of visitors. The consultations brought together key stakeholders to share perspectives on immigration and other related laws and identify pathways moving forward through the identification of national priorities and management of our borders. 

The next phase will identify opportunities for change based upon current national priorities, gaps with regional and international standards as well as practices that could streamline immigration processes. Furthermore, the discussions with national Stakeholders in Palau were to develop drafting instruction on amending provisions to the Act to enable the Republic make the necessary changes to its legislation and to provide the development of a proposed set of new provisions.

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