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.
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.
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).