News report | | 29/01/2024 | ±3 minutes reading time

The Australian government has promised to help Tuvalu residents deal with the consequences of climate change by granting them a special visa for Australia. In fact, the Pacific island state is threatened by the rising sea levels.

Tuvalu struggling with rising sea levels

With its 11,200 inhabitants, Tuvalu is one of the smallest countries in the world. The archipelago consists of nine atolls, all of which are located no more than 5 metres above sea level. Three of Tuvalu’s islands are located 3 metres above sea level. Due to its low altitude, the archipelago is one of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to climate change.

Due to global warming and the rising sea levels, Tuvalu is becoming less and less inhabitable. Indeed, the country risks being completely flooded in the near future, even before the end of the century. The Tuvaluan foreign minister has already drawn attention to the issue at the COP26 climate conference. During his symbolic speech, he stood knee-deep in water. Australia has now heeded his call, committing itself to issue visas to Tuvalu residents.

Groundbreaking agreement with Australia

In November 2023, the Falepili Union Treaty was signed by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Tuvalu's Prime Minister Kausea Natano. The agreement has come after several calls for action from the Tuvalu government to both Australia and New Zealand. With the treaty, Australia promised to grant Tuvalu residents asylum and visas, as well as assistance in case of emergencies such as natural disasters or military assaults from third countries.

Even though Australian Prime Minister called it a groundbreaking agreement, this is not the first treaty with states threatened by climate change. In the past, similar agreements have been signed between the US and other Pacific archipelagos whose survival is threatened, such as Palau and the Marshall Islands. The US has offered economic support to these states in exchange for military access to areas at sea.

280 Australia visas per year to Tuvalu residents

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also stated that Australia and Tuvalu are part of the same Pacific family, therefore asylum will be granted to Tuvalu residents in emergency situations. The new visa regulations are part of the aforementioned Falepili treaty, which in Tuvaluan means ‘neighbourhood’ and ‘mutual respect’. The collaboration between Australia and Tuvalu is based on the principle of watching over your neighbours as if they were part of your family.

The most important aspect of the agreement is the asylum granted by Australia to the inhabitants of the archipelago. Tuvaluans will be eligible for a special Australia visa, which will allow them to stay in the country indefinitely. Up to 280 Tuvalu residents per year may apply for the visa and become permanent residents of Australia. The visa allows applicants to live, work and study in Australia.

Help in case of natural disasters, pandemics, or military confrontation

The treaty does not only mean that Australia will issue a visa to the residents of Tuvalu. The country has also pledged to support the archipelago in other areas. For example, Australia will also rescue Tuvalu in an emergency, such as major natural disasters, pandemics and military aggressions. Conversely, Tuvalu has stated that it will consult Australia when the country enters into an agreement with a third country on security or defense-related matters. With this, the countries have sent a clear signal to China, which is getting more and more influential in the Pacific.

eVisitor visa for short stays in Australia

Holders of the ‘climate visa’ for Tuvaluans are considered permanent residents of Australia, which means they can live, work and study in Australia for as long as they want. However, Australia also offers several short-stay visas, such as the eVisitor visa. Most UK travellers apply for this Australia visa, since it is the easiest to apply for and its cost is quite low. The eVisitor visa can be used for a tourist or business trip to Australia that lasts no more than three months. is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the Australia visa. acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for a visa directly with the immigration service (0 AUD per visa, via However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via, our support centre is available to you 24/7. In addition, we manually check your application and all the documents you provide before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 0 AUD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as £24.95 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous Australia visa was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.