Combined visa and work permit system on its way in Papua New Guinea


The holy grail of a combined online application process for both visas and work permits is on its way, according to Papua New Guinea’s Chief Migration Officer, Stanis Hulahua. The move is one of a number of innovations planned to improve international labour mobility.

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Chief Migration Officer Stanis Hulahua

A ‘one-stop shop’ process for foreign nationals seeking to work in PNG is being developed by the country’s Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA).

The innovation would greatly improve one of the constant challenges of recruiting overseas workers to work in PNG: the long wait time between engaging a foreign worker and them actually starting work.

Chief Migration Officer Stanis Hulahua told a Business Council of PNG event last week that this would streamline a process that currently can take up to six months.

‘When people move, the economy thrives … When borders are closed, it affects the economy negatively.’

Under the new system, he said, a single application process would cover both visas and work permits, so that ‘when we issue a visa, it’s also a work permit.’

Hulahua also said the authority was also reducing the amount of time it took to obtain a visa or a passport, with a visa now taking ten days instead of 15 and passports issued within seven days (or within 24 hours in an emergency).

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Visa renewal trips

Another common issue faced by PNG businesses and their existing foreign employees has been the long-standing requirement for a visa renewal applicant to leave PNG until they receive their new visa.

Given the ‘challenging’ COVID-19 situation, which has made international travel problematic, Hulahua said the ICA had put in place processes to ‘facilitate mobility’.

It has introduced a process ‘whereby visas are reissued in-country on a case-by-case basis’ while Hulahua says similar provisions will apply for those who have overstayed their visa. He said the ICA was encouraging such cases to register with the ICA so their circumstances could be assessed and a new visa issued where necessary.

Hulahua also said the authority was looking to introduce a premium service for larger employers, to be offered at the ICA’s headquarters and at other outlets in Port Moresby. In addition, a dedicated online portal for those organisations sponsoring workers into PNG should also be available ‘in coming weeks’.

Post-COVID travel

With a view to post-COVID international travel, Hulahua revealed the ICA was working on a new border management system which will track incoming passengers and record details such as evidence of vaccination.

He said the system would enable PNG to ‘limit the quarantine time for people entering our country.’

‘When people move, the economy thrives,’ he said. ‘When borders are closed, it affects the economy negatively.’

Potentially, he said, the same system could also be used to help the National Control Centre for COVID-19 to track domestic travel between provinces.


  1. Super market floor Managers should be Localised, Labour Inspectors should visit all Supermarkets .Pngs can do the job.

  2. Jay Kunz says

    We are creating safe havens for expats to come and work here while it is very difficult to even travel overseas.

    This very department always deny its people by giving visas after 5 or 6 months while foreigners are on same day service.
    What a joke ICA

  3. Vance solmien says

    Improve international labour mobility is an insult to our qualified national citizens. Can you improve local labour mobility?

  4. Aminiasi Kamikamica says

    How great move it is for PNG esp work proposed in the Kikori Province ready to roll and looking forward to its venture…God bless PNG

  5. John Pius Wagambie says

    PNG is making it very convenient for foreigners to enter our country for work. Many are unqualified and only blocking passage for our qualified citizens.
    Australia doesn’t even give us such a privilege. They still treat us as Kanakas and terrorists.

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