Nauru travellers warned after visitor visa changes

9:18 am on 20 February 2016

New Zealanders heading to Nauru are being urged to contact its consulate in Australia urgently, because of sudden changes to visitor visas.

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Photo: 123rf

The government of Nauru tightened the rules of visitor visas for Australians and New Zealanders on Thursday, saying journalists from the ABC had entered the country on tourist visas, not work visas.

Nauru said New Zealanders who entered the country for work purposes were not affected, but people with visitor visas should contact the Consulate of Nauru in Brisbane.

Retail manager for travel agency Flight Centre Sue Matson said there were not many customers destined for Nauru, but the agency would be following up with those who were.

"We'll be in contact with our customers who are going but anyone who is travelling out in the next few days should urgently contact the Nauru Consulate or their travel expert to make sure they're following the right procedure so they have the right visa when they get there," she said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was still seeking information, but it has had no contact from the Nauru government about visas for New Zealand tourists, and no enquiries from people who may be affected.

Nauru Airlines said it will refund the fares of passengers who cannot travel.

Meanwhile, the ABC has rejected the allegations that it snuck journalists into the country on tourist visas.

The Australian state broadcaster said none of its news reporters were currently on assignment in Nauru. It said several staff had applied for journalist visas, not tourist visas.

Several international media organisations have unsuccessfully sought permission to visit Nauru to report on the detention camps for asylum-seekers that Australia runs there.

-ABC/RNZ

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