Pitcairn Coat of Arms The Government of the
PITCAIRN ISLANDS

Immigration
Pitcairn Island
Pitcairn Flag

PITCAIRN ISLANDS IMMIGRATION

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Pitcairn is one of the most isolated Islands in the world. When you travel on board the Pitcairn Government's vessel, 'MV Claymore II', you will be at sea for at least two nights before arriving at Pitcairn Island. There is no airport on the Island, so when on the Island you will be at least two days sail from the nearest airport – back in the Gambier Islands (where you will have boarded the Claymore II). The Claymore II visits the island on 4 rotations a year.

GENERAL INFO

What is the population of Pitcairn?
At the time of the December 2012 census there were 45 resident islanders and 9 overseas professionals living on Pitcairn.

What is the climate like?
Pitcairn's average summer temperature ranges from 20-30 degrees centigrade. In winter it can drop as low as 17 degrees centigrade. The humidity ranges from 60-100% all year round. Winter temperatures can be felt from May to October. Roads and walkways can become very muddy and slippery in the winter months. During summer the island can become tinder dry and very dusty.

What religions are practised on Pitcairn?
A successful Seventh-day Adventist mission was established in the 1890s. In recent years, church attendance has declined but most Pitcairners still attend church on special occasions and visitors are always welcome. The church is run by the Church board and resident Pastor. The Sabbath School meets at 9.30am on Saturday mornings and is followed by the main service (Divine Service) an hour later. The Sabbath (Saturday) is observed as the day of rest by most Islanders.

Other faiths are not actively practised in Pitcairn, but all faiths are welcome.

I have a disability, can I still move to Pitcairn?
The Government of Pitcairn Island Council does not discriminate on the grounds of disability. However, you should be aware of several factors that may influence your views about the desirability of Pitcairn as a place to live, with regard to access and services.  The  terrain on Pitcairn is rough, with very steep hills,  a lot of dirt tracks and few paved roads. Transport is generally either on foot or by quad bike. Public buildings are few and some have no disabled access. Public services on Pitcairn are limited due to the extreme isolation of the island, particularly health services (see below under infrastructure). You are strongly advised to discuss your needs with our Immigration department and to visit Pitcairn before applying for settlement.

Do I have to visit Pitcairn before applying for settlement?
No, you can apply for settlement at any time. However it would be wise to consider visiting before you seriously think about applying to settle on the island. Living in a tiny community on one of the most remote islands in the world is something that should be carefully considered.

Can I bring my children to settle on Pitcairn?
There are currently separate procedures in place regarding visits and settlement by children under 16 years of age. If you wish to apply on behalf of a child you will need to contact the Deputy Governor's Office in New Zealand.

If I move to Pitcairn am I entitled to a British Passport?
No. Further information can be obtained from the Deputy Governor's office.

How will my possessions get to Pitcairn?
The Claymore II, Pitcairn's supply ship takes freight to Pitcairn every three months. To arrange your items to go with Pitcairn's regular supplies, contact admin@pitcairn.gov.pn. You can of course contact shipping companies directly if you wish to send your cargo separately though the cargo has to be unloaded into Pitcairn's longboats to get ashore and thus needs to loaded on ship in a manner to allow unloading with limited facilities.

How do people travel to/from Pitcairn?
The Government of Pitcairn Islands charters a passenger/shipping vessel, the Claymore II to carry supplies and passengers to the island every 3 months. To view the Passenger Travel Terms & Conditions go to www.pitcairn.pn or contact admin@pitcairn.gov.pn.
Other charter companies provide travel to the island by yacht, usually from Mangareva in the Gambier Islands.

Is there a school on Pitcairn?
Yes, Pulau School provides pre-school and primary education for resident children.
Qualified, registered teachers are appointed on 1 year renewable basis.

Are there shops on Pitcairn?
There is one 'General Store' on the island. The store is open three times a week and stocks a range of household and general goods. Orders for food from New Zealand are placed through the store on a quarterly basis.

There is also a warehouse (selling construction materials) and a post office. The store, warehouse and post office all open three times a week.

Is there Internet/phone/television on Pitcairn?
All houses on island are currently connected to the Internet and wi-fi is possible. Owing to limitations of the system there is a tiered charging structure to discourage large up/downloads. The Government of Pitcairn Island ensures maintenance of the system.

All houses on island are connected to an international phone system and have New Zealand phone numbers. There are two satellite phones on the island for emergencies – these are held by off-island professionals. There are no mobile phone networks on island but it is possible to receive and send text messages if you register before leaving New Zealand.

Pitcairn can receive a number of television channels but only has capacity to broadcast two to houses at any one time. The channels are currently switched on a regular basis. This may be expanded in future depending on funding and demand. In addition the church broadcasts a separate 'Hope' channel.

How many visitors does Pitcairn get a year?

2009 2010 2011 2012
Cruise ship visitors 327 314 217 702
Other visitors 227 195 217 168
Total 654 509 434 870

What infrastructure is in place on Pitcairn?
There is currently a school which caters to nursery aged children through to the age of 13. High school is usually started by correspondence and completed in school in New Zealand., Existing residents benefit from UK subsidies but these may not apply to new immigrants.

There is a small health clinic and pharmacy on the island. A qualified resident Doctor is available on call at all times. He or she is contracted from New Zealand, Australia or the UK and rotates on an annual basis. The Doctor is able to provide primary care and handle some emergency situations but is limited by the isolation of the island. Serious incidents or illness may require medical evacuation to Tahiti.

Initially immigrants need to have travel insurance including medical evacuation cover when they settle. Once they become permanent residents they are entitled to the same subsidies as other local residents.

There is a Police Officer based on the island, supported by an island Police Officer. Crime is low but there are custody facilities available if needed.

Do I need a visa to visit Pitcairn?
You do not have to apply for a visitor visa if you intend to stay for less than 14 days. If you wish to stay longer you will need to apply for a long term visitor visa (valid for up to 6 months) or a business visa. Applications can be downloaded from the Government website www.pitcairn.gov.pn and submitted to the Pitcairn Islands office in New Zealand.

How do I apply to settle on Pitcairn?
You should complete a Settlement Application form and submit it electronically to the Pitcairn Immigration Officer or the Pitcairn Island Office in New Zealand.

What is the plan for the future of Pitcairn?
The UK Government is committed to supporting Pitcairn's development towards a sustainable future. With an ageing and shrinking population, attracting new immigrants is key to this.

SPONSOR RELATED

Do I have to have a sponsor?
No

Will I live with my host on the island?
This is between you and your host.

FINANCES

How much does it cost to live on Pitcairn?
2012 figures based on average current spending are as per the table below.

Utility Mean expenditure per annum
Electricity $2539.25
Telecom $1215.58
Store (food,beverages, hardware) $4500.00
Medical supplies $275.24
Freight $933.93
Total $9464.00

What is the average income on Pitcairn?
It is difficult to estimate the average total income as there is no taxation and thus official records of private incomes. The average Government income is NZ$6000 per annum.

How much money do I need to have to move to Pitcairn?
As per the immigration policy anyone wishing to settle on Pitcairn must have evidence of savings or assets of at least NZ$30,000.

What sort of evidence of funds will I need to provide?
Normally six months bank statements, savings accounts, credit card statements etc.

On average how much does it cost to build a house on Pitcairn?
Over the past 7 years some modern homes have been built by settlers. A fair estimate including importing all building materials and furnishings, and paying local contractors to build a complete home of around 160 square metres in size, to be approximately NZ$150,000.

How much is it to buy land on Pitcairn?
There are currently no charges for land for settlement. Once a settlement application disapproved a further application should be made to the Pitcairn Islands land court for a plot. Land is currently granted on a leasehold basis. You can also apply for additional land for garden, forest or orchard, based on reasonable need.

Pitcairn receives funds from the UK Government, will I receive public funds i.e. pensions, benefits?
No. If you move to Pitcairn you will need to have your own personal funds to support yourself. These may be supplemented by wages if you take employment on the island.

What currency is used on Pitcairn?
All government transactions are carried out using the New Zealand Dollar - this includes the store, medical centre, utility bills etc.

Private Island enterprise including Pitcairn Island Accommodation costs and local souvenirs are priced in US Dollars. You can access cash on credit cards and exchange currency at the Government Treasury Office in the town square.

ACCOMMODATION

Is there accommodation to buy or rent on the island?
There are currently no properties for sale on the island. The Pitcairn Island Tourism department can help arrange accommodation for you with a local family on a charged basis or alternatively there are a couple of private self-contained houses and units for rent, subject to availability.

I would like to build my own house, is this possible?
Yes. Once your settlement application is approved a further application can be made to the Pitcairn Islands land court for a plot on which to build your home. Land is currently granted on a leasehold basis. You can also apply for additional land for garden, forest or orchard, based on reasonable need.

It is up to you to arrange construction of your home, you may like to employ local labour, work on the project yourself or bring in an external contractor.

Are there builders/electricians/plumbers etc. on island who could build me a house?
There are a number of skilled trades people on the island who have in the past assisted in house building and could be approached on a private basis should you wish to.

EMPLOYMENT

Do I have to settle on Pitcairn permanently or can I come for 6 months to work?
You can apply for a short term visa, there is no compulsion to settle on the island.

Do I need a visa to work on Pitcairn?
No, but if you have not been granted a settlement visa and are not a permanent resident of Pitcairn you will need to obtain written permission from the Island Council before taking up paid employment or entering into business on Pitcairn.

Is everyone employed on Pitcairn?
No, we have a number of retired residents and partners of our ex-patriot workers are not normally employed.

Do I need to work if I move to Pitcairn?
If you are able to support yourself financially then there is no requirement to find work.

Do I need to have certain skills to move to Pitcairn?
There are no mandatory skill requirements in place at this time.

What sort of work is available on Pitcairn?
There are no current vacancies but temporary positions do come up from time to time.

How are jobs advertised and filled on Pitcairn?
All jobs are advertised and filled as per the GPI recruitment policy.

Are islanders given preferential treatment over immigrants?
No. That would be discriminatory.

What is the retirement age on Pitcairn?
Some islanders do take the option to retire at 65, but in accordance with age equality legislation there is no compulsory retirement age on Pitcairn.

TIMINGS/NEXT STEPS

How long does it take to process a settlement application?
If all the documents are in order, Council has endorsed the application the applicant(s) will be called for an interview with the Deputy Governor and a decision made within one month of that interview.

Is there a charge for settlement applications?
Yes. The current fee is NZ$500.

Is there a limit on the number of applicants Pitcairn can take?
The current Strategic Development Plan is looking to grow the population to 80 residents over the next five years. Expansion beyond this has not been ruled out.