12 things to know about employing expats in PNG
As its economy has grown, the number of foreign workers coming to PNG has increased. Scott Roberts, of recruitment consultant Cadden Crowe, gives the dos and don’ts of bringing expats into the country.
Like any other independent nation, Papua New Guinea has its work permit and visa regulations for non-nationals, and if you do not abide by the rules both the employer and the employee are legally liable.
It is important to know the requirements and your role as an employee and employer.
All expats looking to work in PNG, whether it be for the short term or the long term, require a visa. The options range from a business visa to cover short trips for meetings through to a threeyear residential work permit.
There is a myth that it is all right to come into PNG and work on a business visa until told otherwise, or until a regular visa is ‘worked out’. Do not fall into this trap.
If you are coming to work in PNG, or are employing expats, then they must have a valid work permit and visa aligned to a specific employer and specific job.
The business visa only allows you to travel to the country to attend meetings, check on progress, carry out functions necessary to the operation of your business. It is for those people whose role is based outside PNG.
The system to obtain the relevant visa is straightforward but requires you to understand the system and to cooperate with the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations and PNG’s Immigration and Citizenship Service.
Using a registered employment agent in PNG can be a shrewd investment – they understand the systems, know the departments, will check all the necessary paperwork before anything is lodged and will follow up until processing is complete.
There are many stories, but the system is not complicated. It runs relatively smoothly and many of the delays and ‘war stories’ often relate to poor planning, not allowing enough time and incomplete documentation. Do