Papua New Guinea (PNG) is often described as
the land of the unexpected. Although unpredicted events can happen
at any time (and they often do), PNG still offers many
opportunities to foreign investors.
Investor confidence in PNG looks set to increase in 2014. During
last year PNG demonstrated that not only does it have a stable and
growing economy, but its government was taking action to invest in
large scale national projects to upgrade substandard infrastructure
such as roads and power generation, which are critical for
The Asia Development Bank recently reported that PNG's
economy is robust and business is upbeat.1 Major
projects such as the multibillion dollar PNG LNG are about to come
online, while new projects such as Highlands Region Road
Improvement Investment Program and the Civil Aviation Development
Investment Program should improve investment confidence because
such projects are intended to increase capacity development and
provide economic growth.
With growing investor confidence you may now want to consider
starting business operations in PNG. So what do you need to
Before you start business operations in
A foreign company wishing to conduct business in Papua New
Guinea (PNG) must (unless an exemption applies)
obtain Investment Promotion Authority (IPA)
approval and be issued with an IPA certificate. Without IPA
certification any contract, agreement or understanding would be
considered unlawful and may be found void and unenforceable.
Before an IPA certificate can be issued a foreign business must
either register as an Overseas Company under the Companies Act 1997
or incorporate a new PNG company.
To register an Overseas Company in PNG you will need to complete
Form 46 and pay the prescribed fee of 500 Kina (about AUD
Note: a resident agent and a physical address in PNG
are required to complete the form.
To incorporate a PNG company you will need to complete
Forms 1, 2 ,3, 4 and 6 and pay the prescribed fee of 500 Kina
(about AUD $200). Note: you can also purchase a PNG shelf company.
Typically this will cost about 2,000 Kina or about AUD
Prior to landing in PNG you need to make sure that you have the
correct visa. This will depend on the purpose of the trip.
All visitor entry permits are valid for a single entry stay of
60 days from the date of arrival. Work is prohibited under visitor
entry permits. A visitor entry permit may be extended for a further
30 days. Visas may be obtained from:
PNG High Commissions; and
Consulates and Offices overseas.
Note: From 1 March 2014, all Australians wanting a
visitor, short-term single entry or restricted employment visa must
apply through their nearest PNG consulate. Previously it was
possible for Australian citizens to apply upon arrival at
This type of visa entitles the holder to attend business
meetings and visit clients.
Any persons wishing to work in PNG for 6 months to 3 years will
require a valid work permit.
Persons wishing to perform short work assignments and relief
duties for period of up to 12 months will need a visa. Approval
from the Department of Labour and Employment is required prior to
the visa being issued. A specialist or consultant single entry 90
day visa can also be obtained.
PNG Posting - Long Term Employment Visa
In most cases Long Term Employment Visas are issued only to
skilled staff. Approval is required by the Department of Labour and
Employment prior to the issue of the visa.
In addition, undertakings must be given by the employing company
regarding the maintenance, accommodation, and repatriation of the
The existing legislation allows for the spouse or a child of the
holder of a valid work permit to apply for a multiple entry
dependant visa. If the visa is issued, then it will be for the same
period as the work permit. Dependant visa holders are prohibited
from undertaking employment.
Housing in PNG
The costs of expatriate rental accommodation can be very
expensive. In Port Moresby the average rental for a two bedroom
apartment is around K4,500 (A$2,200) per week, plus GST.
All taxpayers must lodge their tax returns each year. Tax
returns are based on income earned from 1 January to 31 December
(balance date). In certain situations the Internal
Revenue Commission may approve to adopt a substituted balance
PNG has different tax rates for resident, non-resident, resident
mining, non-resident mining and petroleum companies.
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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On 13 October 2015, the Civil Law and Justice (Omnibus Amendments) Bill 2015 received assent. With little fanfare, the Bill has made small, though important amendments to the International Arbitration Act 1974.
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