Stranded Ni-Vanuatu citizens still waiting for financial support
More than 200 Ni-Vanuatu citizens stranded overseas on tourist visas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, are yet to receive financial support from the Vanuatu Government.
Vanuatu’s Foreign Affairs Director General, Yvon Basil, says some of these stranded Ni-Vanuatu are now residing with Australian families as they could no longer afford to stay in hotels.
Director Basil says the delay in releasing funds to those stranded abroad has been caused by complications with the advice from the State Law Office so the Finance Department has the legal right to release funds.
“There are some complications here with the advice that is coming in from the Finance Department. But the implications do not mean that we will not provide financial support to them,” the Director said.
“We will still look at ways to work with the Finance Department and the State Law Office to ensure the law is followed.
“We must both follow the law and the heart of those affected by this crisis so we can sort out their situation.”
Mr Basil says his Foreign Affairs Department is continuing to work with the State Law Office to have the funds released.
Mr Basil says the financial support will cover the stranded citizen’s accommodation and meal expenses abroad.
He says the Finance Department will collect receipts of the money stranded citizens have spent on meals and accommodation and will cover their expenses accordingly.
It is now more than 72 days since over 200 Ni-Vanuatu have been stranded overseas on tourist visas.
George Malas, one of those stranded in Australia, says he feels the wait has been too long and is unfair.