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Working in Papua New Guinea : Guide


Working in Papua New Guinea is a challenge as well as adventure. It is a new chapter of your life as you come to work in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea or PNG is a Pacific Island country north of Australia. It has a population of 7 million people. For more details  go to PNG Background information. 

Guides for Working in Papua New Guinea
As a general rule, all none citizens who seek employment in the private sector in Papua New Guinea must possess a valid work permit before they can commence employment. The work permit must be granted bu the Secretary, Department of Labour and Industrial Relations in accordance with the Employment of Non Citizens Act 2007. A non citizen who works in Papua New Guinea without a valid work permit commits an offence.

Remember If you are unsure whether you need a

work permit

, please approach the Foreign Employment Division for assistance o

Qualifications, skills and experience

A work permit application must contain sufficient evidence of a non citizens qualifications, skills and experience. This evidence must demonstrate that the non – citizen has the credentials to do the job for which they have applied for work permit.

As a general rule,non-citizen should possess a degree or other tertiary qualification relevant to their field of employment. Applicants should also demonstrate appropriate work experience [at least 3-5 years] in order to qualify for a work permit.

Work permits must be granted to highly-skilled non-citizens workers who do not hold any tertiary qualifications. However, detailed proof of the employee’s skills and job experience must be provided in an updated curriculum vitae [CV] as part of the work permit application.

Age requirements

No work permit will be granted to a non-citizen under the age of 22. This is because it is assumed that non-citizens of this age are not suitably qualified, skilled or experience enough to provide training or learning opportunities to their PNG counterparts. There is no upper age limit to the granting of work permit. However, a non-citizen who is above the age of 65 years may have to provide a suitable medical clearance before they can be granted a work permit.

Sharing knowledge and community participation

Non-citizens are required to share their knowledge and experience with their Papua New Guinea counterparts. It is also important that non-citizens who come to work in PNG are able to communicate with Papua New Guinean citizens within the community.

Applying for a work permit

All applications for a work permit, regardless of the type of work permit, must be submitted using the prescribed application forms contained in the Employment of Non-Citizens Regulation 2008.

Processing time frame

It is a statutory requirement under the Act that all new work permit applications and all renewal applications be dealt with within 42 days [6 weeks]. If all of the documentation is correct, the Department will usually process a work permit application within 3 weeks.

An important rule

You may NOT work in Papua New Guinea if you do not possess a valid work permit! Significant penalties apply if you are caught working without a work permit.


Application for General Work Permit- K1000.00 for each year of the work permit[At the time of publication, this fee was correct. Seek confirmation with Department of Labour and Industrial Relations]

Responsibility of DLIR (Foreign Employment Division)

In the first instance, all non-citizens must be granted a work permit by DLIR. The application for the work permit will be processed by the Foreign Employment Division (FED) of DLIR. Any decision with respect to the application for a work permit will be decided by the Secretary, DLIR. The Secretary will consider the application in accordance with the Employment of Non-Citizens Regulation 2008.

Once a non-citizen has been issued with a work permit, he or she apply to the Immigration for the appropriate Entry Permit [Visa]. A visa allows a non-citizen to enter PNG and remain for specific period. Any decision with respect to a Visa application will made in accordance with the Migration Act 1978 and Regulation. Non-citizen employees who ahve been issued with a work permit are granted a specific Visa called’Work Resident Entry Permit’. Immigration also issues many other types of Visas such as: Visitor Visa, Business Visa and Student Visa. Immigration also issues Permanent Resident Visas and Papua New Guinean Passports.

Immigration is responsible for processing and issuing entry permits (Visas) and Passports. It is not responsible for processing and issuing work permits.

The detailed guidelines can be downloaded here.

Download all general guidelines to work in Papua New Guinea here. 

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