This article is intended as a general guide offering some practical advice to those expats intending to work and live in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and for companies wanting to employ expats in PNG.
There’s a saying that there are three types of expats working in PNG: missionaries,
mercenariesand misfits (Note: not official categories!). As a rule, it doesn’t matter which category you fall into; you will usually need to obtain a valid work permit and visa before landing in PNG. There are some general exceptions, for example, where a non-citizen is employed by a recognised aid donor organisation which has been formally recognised by the PNG Government.
All non-citizens and their employers need to comply with PNG employment legislation. The principal legislation concerning expats is the Employment of Non-citizens Act 2007, the Migration Act 1978, and associated regulations.
Before making an application for a work permit, the non-citizen must be outside of the country (unless of course they already have a valid work permit and an application for another work permit has been made).
Typically, there are two stages before a non-citizen can start working in PNG.
Stage 1 – Work Permit
(a) Complete Form 1- Application for New Work Permit
Note: you will also need to attach:
(i) National Police Clearance checks;
(ii) Certificate of Good Health;
(iii) X-ray report and HIV blood test results;
(iv) Letter from employer;
(v) Employment contract;
(vi) Current Resume.
(b) Lodge completed form and payment of the prescribed fees with the PNG Department of Labour and Industrial Relations
Note: Stage 1 can take 8 weeks or more. Payment of the prescribed fee must be made at the time of lodgement.
General Long Term Work Permit: K1,000 per year (about AUD$500)
General Short Term Work Permit: K500 (about AUD$250)
Volunteer Long Term Work Permit: K100 per year (about AUD$50)
Volunteer Short Term Work Permit: K50 (about AUD$25)
You should obtain National Police checks as soon as possible. This process can take a number of weeks to be processed. Your application will not be processed without this document
Use an immigration agent based in PNG to facilitate the work permit and visa process.
Keep a copy of the completed Form 1 application and all supporting documentation for your records.
Make sure that all supporting documentation (other than originals) are certified true and correct.
Stage 2 - Entry Permit (Visa)
Once the work permit has been issued you must apply to PNG Immigration for the appropriate visa.
When a non-citizen has been issued with a work permit they will be issued with a specific visa called the ‘Working Resident Entry Permit’. The term of the visa will reflect the term of the work permit.
Note: Immigration also issues other types of visas such as: visitor visa, business visa and student visa.
Short term work permit - up to 6 months from the date it is granted.
Long term work permit - from 6 months up to 5 years from the date it is granted.
If application is made overseas K1000 (about AUD$500) [Note: prescribed fees was increased at the end of September 2013 from PGK550 to PGK1000)].
If renewed in PNG the current prescribed fee is K2000 (about AUD$1000).
Please contact Keith Iduhu or Hilary Masiria if you require additional information regarding working in PNG.
The information set out in this article is a general guide only about the laws in PNG and is not intended as specific legal advice.
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