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Working in Papua New Guinea

Find out how to get a job and work in Papua New Guinea

Similarly to many other countries, expats in Papua New Guinea tend to work in skilled and qualified positions. If you want to live an exotic experience, you find some useful information about working in Papua New Guinea, from job hunting to work permits, in the InterNations GO! Guide.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Employment in Papua New Guinea

Economic Overview

Papua New Guinea, richly endowed with natural resources, has a dual economy. The formal, corporate-based sector boosted by markets in telecommunications is the first, and the other is a large informal sector consisting mainly of subsistence farming. This agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for the bulk of the population. Prevalent crops include coffee, tea, coconuts, copra (dried coconut kernels), rubber, and sugar. Subsequent spin-off industries have developed centering on copra crushing, palm oil processing, plywood production, and wood chip production.

Whilst Papua New Guinea is mainly dependent on import for manufactured goods, exports of mineral deposits (oil, copper, and gold) account for around 72% of its export earnings. Papua New Guinea’s main export markets include Australia, Japan, and the EU. Main exporters to Papua New Guinea include Australia, Singapore, and Japan.

The country has exhibited a strong economic performance since the mid-2000s due to large scale private investment in mining and gas production. The GDP in 2013 was 15.29 billion USD; a growth of 5.4%. Whilst the economy is performing well, the development of a stronger infrastructure to support private-sector led financing continues to be a priority. Papua New Guinea still depends on foreign aid, from Australia in particular.

Work Permits for Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, managerial, professional and highly-skilled posts tend to be open to non-citizen employees, whilst jobs that don’t require any particular skills or qualifications are reserved for citizens. As a general rule, all non-citizens who seek work in the private sector must possess a valid work permit before starting work (although there are some exemptions to this).

Approval to work is given by two government departments. The Department of Labour and Industrial Relations is responsible for issuing work permits. Once an employee has their permit, they must apply to the Immigration Department in order to obtain a visa. The visa likely to be issued is the Working Residency Permit.

Many employers enlist the services of a Papua New Guinea Employment Agent to act as a link between them and the relevant government departments. A registered and licensed agent can be a useful support in navigating the administrative process.

Job Hunting in Papua New Guinea

Country-wide newspapers in Papua New Guinea that feature classified sections, including job vacancies, are the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier and The National. Published in English, these are a useful resource for job hunting. In addition, PNGworkforce is an online site expats can use to look for a change of career. The site allows users to browse by category and also see the impressive list of businesses that have used PNGworkforce for recruitment.

The Department of Labour and Industrial Relations is generally understanding of the needs of the business community. Recognizing this sector’s importance to the country’s economy as a whole, it is keen to ensure that employers have no difficulty in recruiting non-citizen workers (where specialized skills cannot be found locally).

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: March 19, 2015
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