PIDC Look to Future for Pacific Islands Security and GrowthPosted On: Wednesday, 26 October 2016
The Pacific Immigration Directors' Conference (PIDC) Board met in Rarotonga from 17 to 19 October 2016. As the Boards first meeting since the PIDC Secretariat's relocation from Fiji to Samoa in August 2016, the primary theme for the meeting was to finalise remaining transition and policy document matters and reset the organisation's focus to more strategic and outward looking issues to best position the organisation in supporting Member administrations to meet their national obligations moving forward.
To open the meeting, Cook Islands Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Ms Tepaeru Hermann noted that immigration was a key driver for economic growth and shared the national challenges her administration faced in managing the approximately 130,000 tourists entering a country with a population of 15,000. Ms Hermann acknowledged the importance of labour to the region noting that labour was one of the 5 key issues that was recognised in the regional Small Island States Strategy and as such looked forward to the possible support that PIDC could provide Member administrations.
PIDC Chair and Head of Marshall Islands Immigration Mr Damien Jacklick in acknowledging the warm invitation by Cook Islands Immigration to host the Board Meeting stated "the PIDC family was established to support Members manage their immigration issues, strengthen their border control measures and enhance their efforts to promote economic growth". "We are excited that PIDC has created a solid foundation with the establishment of the Secretariat in Apia and can now look to ensure that this important regional resource can work to meet both the current and future needs of our Members".
Key issues discussed in the Board meeting included the renaming of the PIDC to better reflect the activities, objectives and values of the organisation and the development of work programmes to modernise Members legislative and policy frameworks, build the capacity of PIDC immigration officers,and enhance the capacity of Members to share information to support border control measures.Deputy Director for New Zealand Immigration Mr Toosavili Nigel Bickle acknowledged that immigration, labour mobility and economic growth arestrongly linked and this required immigration agencies to now provide policy advice in areas traditionally outside their scope of attention.
The Board also agreed that training was an important component of PIDC's work programme. Chief Executive Officer for Samoa's Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Mr Agafili Shem Leo welcomed the strong work programme developed by the Secretariat and advised "Samoa, like all other Members stands to benefit significantly from the proposed activities and will look to utilise the valuable support PIDC is providing to strengthen national capacity".