Here I would like to share with you the different government offices we needed to talk to during this adventure. There is no straight forward, one stop shop to get all the info you need to set up a business and get your residency done to move from Australia to Vanuatu. So if you are aiming to do it too, you may find at least some of this page helpful. I will take some photos next time we are there and ad them to assist you. None of the streets are named and it is not obvious from the outside that there is an official office in any particular building.
VIPA – the VIPA office can be found in the same building as the French Coffee shop in the main strip (almost opposite the fruit and veg markets). If you are in the coffee shop, walk out and go left and then turn left into the arcade. Go all the way through to the back of the building and up the stairs. Once you are in the car park you will see some stairs and a ramp over on the left had side. go up there and you will be at the door of the VIPA Office. We asked to make an appointment to talk to someone and we were ushered straight in and spoke to a very helpful guy named Gelpen. He had a look through all the paperwork Scott had done and said all we needed to ad was a training plan for the Ni-van we would employ and finish the cash flow projections. Once we were finished all we had to do was go back and submit all the documentation and pay the fee. When we did this in Feb 2016, the fee was 120,000 vatu, which is about $1,500 AUD.
Shefa Provincial Council – the council offices were quite difficult to find. We drove past it 3 times before we got it! There is no signage at all… This is where we will lodge our building plans once Ned has finished the final drawings. So here goes, on the west/north bound road through town you will pass the police station on your right, keep going past the VNPA (Vanuatu National Provincial Fund – this is where we will go regarding employees super) also on your right. about 100 mtrs up the hill from there there is a lane way on your left, turn into here. There a few driveways off it, go through the gate on your right. The smaller building off to your right is where you lodge your building plans for approval. Our understanding at this stage is that you take your plans in with a 1 page application (got this from them the first time we went in there). they work out the square meters of the proposed buildings and you pay 500 vatu per sq metre. It goes to a council meeting and provided no one objects, you have your building approval. They are not concerned about what kind of building you are doing or what it will be used for or whether it complies to any building standards… just that you pay the right amount of money.
AON Insurance – We went in to speak to some one about what needs to be done to be able to get insurance for a cat 5 cyclone. We spoke to Tanya, she was very helpful and very knowledgeable. She gave us a list of Building Engineers we could talk to about what we need to do. I have emailed 2 of them and they will quote on their services once they have seen the plans. AON Also do every other type of insurance. you can fine them in the main street, the entrance is between the ANZ and Westpac buildings. Go up the stairs, easy to find once you are up there.
Department of Tourism Head Office – Once we have our VIPA approved we can request duty exemptions on things that we import for the business. This is done here. We were told by Gelpen at the VIPA office to see Jerry Spooner. We had a lot of trouble finding this place too. It is up near the cathedral towards the north west of town. I will have to update this part after our next visit as I did not right it down and it is a little fuzzy. It is at the back of a block and there is another office/business in front of it. Keep your eyes peeled for the sign…
Island Constructions – just in case you need a builder… they are on our short list a potential builders for us at this stage. This one is a doozy! So to find Brian at Island Constructions head out to the sports centre… tennis courts and soccer fields. if you are in the right place you will see a large cemetery up ahead of you. you will see a set of dark grey villas on your left. the sport fields are on your right. Directly after the fields turn right onto a dirt road. You will be able to see a bright blue building ahead of you. once you get there, turn right between it and the sport field and follow this along, it is a very bumpy road! go about 100 m and you will see a place called Syndicate Agri on your right. turn right here and you will see the sign and entry to Island Constructions. Brian’s office is the shed directly on your right as you drive in. Good Luck!
Immigration – Vanuatu Immigration is where you can source your residential permit application form. Based on our experience it is not a difficult process. All things in Vanuatu just take time.