Communique of the 20th Pacific Immigration Directors Conference
The 20th Pacific Immigration Directors’ Conference (PIDC) hosted by New Zealand with the support of Samoa was convened in Apia, Samoa on 20 ? 22 June 2017. The theme of the conference was “Our Waka. Advancing Approaches to Regional Migration Challenges for a Safe and Prosperous Pacific. 18 Member countries and territories attended: New Zealand (Chair), Republic of Fiji, (Vice Chair) Republic of the Marshall Islands (Vice -Chair), Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna. The conference also welcomed representatives of observer organisations from the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP), Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Canada Immigration and Citizenship, Bali Process Regional Support Office, Pacific Islands Law Officers' Network (PILON), Pacific Transnational Crimes Network (PTCN), Tokelau and United States Homeland Security.
The Conference was opened by the Honourable Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi who welcomed delegates and official observers to the 20th Pacific Immigration Directors Conference. Prime Minister Tuilaepa noted the journey undertaken since 2015 when the Government of Samoa invited PIDC to establish its headquarters in Apia and urged Members to continue prioritising collaboration to improve border security targeting key crime threats identified by law enforcement agencies in the region. The Honourable Prime Minister stated that effective coordination of strategies for migration security is critical with PIDC taking a lead role with strong emphasis on research, effective and timely information and Intelligence sharing, and assisting member countries to build and improve staff professional development.
STATEMENT BY THE CHAIR
The Chair, Ms Nicola Hogg thanked outgoing Chair Mr Damien Jacklick, the assistance of Agafili Shem Leo and the Government of Samoa in support of the conference, and welcomed participants and acknowledged the Secretariat, Ioane Alama, Akuila Ratu and Sachin Singh for their hard work in establishing the new Secretariat which was officially opened, and for their continued efforts on behalf of PIDC. She stated that now the organisation is established as a legal entity, the PIDC is in an excellent position to achieve its goals ? through information-sharing and capacity-building in the migration risk and labour mobility in the Pacific region. She looked forward to the year ahead, through the development of a strategic plan, and the completion of an ambitious workplan, with migration and immigration is a central focal point to ensure a safe and prosperous Pacific region. She stated that PIDC’s priorities for the next year are in the immigration aspects of transnational organised crime, and the economic opportunities through immigration agencies of intra-regional labour mobility. She also noted there are opportunities for the Pacific to participate in the UN Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration later this year, where PIDC members can contribute our very real experiences of climate change and displacement to the global discussions.
RELOCATION OF THE PIDC HEADQUARTERS
Members welcomed the relocation of the PIDC Headquarters noting the significant work undertaken by the Board and Secretariat and officially opened the Secretariat offices with a formal blessing of prayer.
RENAMING OF THE ORGANISATION
Members agreed to change the organisation’s name to the Pacific Immigration Development Community to reflect the organisation’s international legal entity status with an established Secretariat and extensive annual work plan. The Secretariat was tasked with ensuring that Stakeholders were informed and that the organisation’s mission and main priorities remained unchanged in assisting Members to secure Borders and facilitate legitimate travel to support development and economic growth.
Members welcomed the Secretariat’s work in 2016, 17 noting in particular: the successful completion of the inaugural Executive Leadership and Management Programme; the review of the Regional Model Policy and Legislative Framework to provide regionally endorsed immigration best practice provisions; and the completion of the PIDC training needs analysis to determine Members’ key immigration skill gaps and priorities.
Members noted the significant achievements of the PIDC Board during its term welcoming the recommendations of changes to the Foundation documents including the provision of Secretariat’s Host Country Membership on the Board and the establishment of an additional Vice Chair to support the expanding strategic and policy driving role of PIDC.
PIDC PRIORITIES FOR 2017
18 Members agreed that with the completion of the Secretariat relocation, all energies must now turn to the implementation of the organisations objectives with a particular focus on:
a) developing a long term strategic framework with a new strategic plan and an integrated multi-year work programme; b) establishing a regional ability to legally share immigration related information, including agreement to the text of an MOU at the next annual conference with a commitment from members to sign at the annual conference or as soon as possible thereafter;
c) strengthening the PIDC Intelligence Network to combat border threats;
d) supporting national and regional labour mobility efforts through strengthening immigration capacity to provide national policy advice and streamline immigration work permit processes;
e) strengthening training capabilities within the membership, including development of a training curriculum and training modules and to seek accreditation of that scheme;
f) supporting Immigration modernisation by providing technical assistance in areas including model standard operating procedures for removing persons and receiving deportees, legislative reviews, automated border management systems and primary line research as well as data collection, executive leadership and profiling capacity building activities.
Members recognised the financial support provided by Australia and New Zealand since the establishment of the PIDC and thanked them for their continuing commitment to the organisation. Members also thanked the in-kind support provided by Government of Samoa for the Secretariat offices.
Members discussed immigration’s crucial role in facilitating successful labour mobility schemes that strengthen economic development for Pacific communities and noted the impacts of relevant multilateral agreements such as the newly signed PACER Plus. In noting the need to ensure immigration officials have the technical capacity to support labour mobility schemes, Members engaged with a panel of Regional Seasonal Employer Scheme Stakeholders from the Samoan community and New Zealand private sector who shared their experiences and provided unique insight highlighting some best practices being implemented to ensure the integrity and sustainability of the valuable programmes. The PIDC will continue to explore intra-regional labour mobility possibilities within the region through the efforts of PACER Plus and PLMAM.
CONFERENCE WORKSHOP SESSIONS
Members and Observers held a series of Workshop sessions to explore options for strengthening processes on intelligence management and labour mobility. Key issues and challenges were discussed and joint responses explored to provide guidance to the organisation and Secretariat on mapping strategic pathways and identifying priorities for the next 12 months.
Members welcomed presentations made by representatives of Observer partner organisations identifying issues of common interest and possible areas of collaboration noting the wide range of work that was already being undertaken in partnership for the benefit of PIDC Members and the wider regional community.
ELECTION OF NEW BOARD
Members welcomed the new Board Members being Republic of Fiji (Vice Chair), Republic of the Marshall Islands (Outgoing Vice-Chair), Kiribati (Small Island States), Papua New Guinea (Melanesia), Federated States of Micronesia (Micronesia), Tonga (Polynesia) and Samoa (host country). CLOSING The Conference welcomed the invitation by the Republic of Fiji to host the 21st Pacific Immigration Directors Annual Conference in 2018.
Apia, Samoa 22 June 2017