Key human resources considerations in Papua New Guinea


1. Skills

Skills shortages are widespread in PNG, and likely to get worse in the short to medium term. As one expat manager told us: ‘If you have a trade in PNG, you are basically guaranteed a job.’ Larger firms are often obliged to source expats from overseas for specialised or highly skilled roles. Leadership development of middle to senior nationals is being used to close skills gaps. ‘The key with this development is to partner with a coaching program to ensure behavioural change back in the workplace,’ advises Robert de Loryn of RdL Management Consultants.

2. Permits & visas

‘An employer who wishes to employ a non-citizen to work in PNG must ensure the non-citizen has a work permit issued by the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations and an Employment Entry Permit/Visa issued by the PNG Immigration and Citizen Service,’ advises David Caradus, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers PNG. It can currently take up to six weeks to obtain both the work permit and visa.

3. Accommodation

Rents can be astronomical and it is not only expats who are affected; many salaried nationals struggle to find affordable housing. ‘Company-provided, -funded or partially-funded accommodation is expected for non-citizens that are recruited externally to work in PNG and today many nationals expect the same. It’s a real cost to doing business in PNG,’ says Cadden Crowe’s Scott Roberts.

Further information: The PNG Investors’ Manual, published by the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry (

This article first published in Business Advantage PNG 2011/2012

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