An overview of the regulations and application procedures for work-related visas in Papua New Guinea, including business visas, restricted entry visas, and APEC visas.
Once a non-citizen has been issued with a work permit, he or she must apply to Papua New Guinea Immigration and Citizenship Service in Port Moresby for the appropriate Entry Permit (Visa). A visa allows a non-citizen to enter PNG and to remain for a specified period. Any decision with respect to a visa application will be made in accordance with the Migration Act 1978 and regulation.
Non-citizen employees who have been issued with a work permit are granted a specific visa called the Working Resident Entry Permit. ICA issues many other types of Visas, such as: Visitor Visa, Business Visa and Student Visa. ICA also issues Permanent Resident Visas and Papua New Guinean passports.
ICA is responsible for monitoring the entry, stay and exit of non-citizens, including foreign workers, to PNG. Where a noncitizen is found breaching the provisions of their visa, ICA may deport them from the country.
While foreign directors or shareholders of PNG-based companies may visit PNG under a business visa (see below), they will not be granted residency or employment visas without proof that the company has been registered with the PNG Investment Promotion Authority.
Application procedures for work visa
You will be required to provide the following documents to your Employment Agent for verification for Immigration & Citizenship Authority in Port Moresby. Please Note that all documentation will be scanned and submitted electronically:
- Letter of sponsorship from client requesting approval of the Work Visa
- Completed Application for Entry Permit form with two (2) recent, clear, colour passport sized photographs of employee with a white background, must not be wearing any jewellery (earrings etc) and glasses.
- Copy of Work Permit approval letter from DLIR
- Copy of applicant’s passport bio page
- Original Maintenance Guarantee Bond issued by a PNG insurance company
- Finance receipt for migration services.
For collection of the visa, the following requirements need to be lodged at the Diplomatic Mission in the Country of Origin of the candidate themselves:
- Applicant’s passport—must have at least 12 months validity
- Completed, signed, Application for Entry Permit with passport photo attached
- Completed PNG medical forms, including HIV test and chest x-ray results.
- Police check clearance from country of origin
The time this will take can vary significantly depending on an array of variables however standard processing periods are fifteen (15) working days.
Please note: standard processing time to get both your work permit and visa is fifteen (15) working days per department, approximately six weeks, with 15 working days in DLIR and 15 working days with ICA and if forms are not completed correctly or missing specific detail there may be significant delays.
Therefore, take account for this amount of time in your business planning. If you believe this timeline is a problem that may be of national significance to PNG, we recommend you enter into dialogue with the relevant departments for the alternative steps that you may be allowed to take while work permits and visa are being processed.
Please note: all multiple Entry Business Visas have been suspended indefinitely. Please refer to the PNG ICA webpage for more information, www.ica.gov.pg
A Business Visa may be granted by ICA for persons entering PNG to attend business meetings, board meetings, conferences, exploratory business visits or participate in business negotiation. Employment is strictly prohibited.
Application for Business Visas can be made at the PNG diplomatic mission in the country of origin of the candidate themselves. The following documents are required:
- Completed Application for Entry Permit form, with passport photo attached
- Passport with at least six months validity
- One passport photo
- Copy of itinerary, including return journey)
- Business sponsorship letter stating precise nature of business and PNG business contact, duration of stay and proposed frequency of visits.
Restricted Employment Visa (REV)
The Restricted Employment Visa was introduced to assist Industry respond quickly to urgent or emergency situations.
This Visa grants work rights without the need to acquire a work permit from the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations enabling business and industry to bring in to PNG urgently required Technical Specialists for short periods in emergency circumstances.
The Visa is restricted to one employer and the maximum length of stay is 30 days and a person can only enter 4 times in a calendar year. Refer to PNG ICA webpage (www.ica.gov.pg).
Non-citizens engaged in business and industry in the following sectors, are eligible to apply for the REV:
- Building and Maintenance,
- Aviation and
- The Manus Regional Processing Centre.
Applications for REV may be made at PNG diplomatic missions in the country of origin and the following documents required:
- Completed application for Entry Permit Form
- Passport (6+ months validity)
- One (1) photograph
- Sponsorship/nomination letter
- Supplementary Health Form
The sponsorship letter must clearly outline the full details on the nominee, the nature and purpose of the visit, the location where the employee will be employed, the proposed period of stay and expected date of arrival.
Sponsoring employers are to verify they will fully support their nominee during their period of stay in PNG and they will ensure their nominee departs PNG on or before the expiry date of their REV.
APEC business visitors
PNG is also part of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation body (APEC) and recognises and encourages those eligible to obtain an APEC visa card for business entry into PNG for non-employment business activities.
This visa is a great option to consider especially if you visit PNG regularly: it is less expensive, covers multiple countries and is valid for five years of multiple visits. Applications should be made in your home country if your home country is an APEC member.
This article prepared by Scott Roberts (Managing Director, Pacific People Solutions) and George Griffin (Managing Director, CC Pacific).
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