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 those companies
wanting to employ expats in PNG.
There's a saying that there are three types of expats
working in PNG: missionaries, mercenaries and 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
Complete Form 1 - Application for New Work Permit
Note: you will also need to attach:
National Police Clearance checks;
Certificate of Good Health;
X-ray report and HIV blood test results;
letter from employer;
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
General Short Term Work Permit: K500 (about AUD$250)
Volunteer Long Term Work Permit: K100 per year (about
Volunteer Short Term Work Permit: K50 (about AUD$250)
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
Long term work permit - from 6 months up to 5 years from the
date it is granted.
If application is made overseas: K1,000 (about AUD$500)
Note: prescribed fee was increased at the end
of September 2013 from PGK550 to PGK1,000.
If renewed in PNG the current prescribed fee is K2,000 (about
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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