Friday, 5 May 2017

PNG's work permit system is not helping local workers - NRI proposes to reconsider the classification of labour

by DR. CARMEN GOIGT-GRAF | Edited.

“The purpose of the Work Permit System, under which non-citizens are employed in PNG’s private sector, is to benefit businesses and Papua New Guinean workers,” reports the PNG National Research Institute (NRI) recently.

“In practice, there have been few benefits for Papua New Guinean workers. In particular, little skills transfer has taken place.

“PNG faces chronic skill shortages, particularly in technical areas. Under the Work Permit System, businesses can import skills to overcome these shortages.”

There are two objectives under the current system, which is regulated by the Employment of Non-Citizens Act 2007.

“The first objective is to allow businesses to attract and retain qualified, skilled and experienced non-citizen workers. The second objective is to promote the creation of employment, training and skills acquisition for Papua New Guineans,” writes NRI in a statement.

Furthermore, all occupations are categorised as either green, red or amber.

The green category of occupations is open to citizens and noncitizens alike and comprises highly skilled occupations.

The red category is reserved for Papua New Guineans and comprises low skilled occupations while the amber category comprises semi-skilled occupations and requires a Labour Market Test before non-citizens can be employed.

“This means that non-citizens can only be employed if no suitable Papua New Guinean workers are available.”

Unfortunately for PNGeans, companies have to demonstrate that training and skills transfer has taken place only when a work permit is due for renewal. This means, there is no monitoring of skills transfer during the three years for which most work permits are issued.

“Even when work permits are due for renewal, the skills transfer and training component is not always enforced and work permits are renewed even if little or no training has taken place,” reports NRI.

“In addition, many exemptions, particularly with regards to language requirements, are granted by the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations (DLIR). Yet, meaningful skills transfer requires a common language between non-citizens and Papua New Guineans. Although it is impossible to determine how many work permit holders have been exempted of the language requirements, it is a widely known fact that many non-citizen workers do not speak English.”

The NRI believes that the classification of occupations into the “green”, “amber” and “red” categories under the Work Permit System has to be revised as a matter of urgency. At present, some occupations are not included at all. Others could be re-classified, such as from green to amber, in order to provide more opportunities for Papua New Guineans.

“In sum, through better monitoring and enforcement of the existing legislation and a revision of the occupational categories, the Work Permit System could become much more beneficial for Papua New Guinean workers.”

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Meanwhile a social media commentator responded saying:


Few weeks ago Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull axed 457 visas for outsider to work in his country and restricted expatriate's employment to specialist only! He even increased the citizenship years for expats from 2 to 3 years. Also, state that expats must work for 2 to 3 yrs impart their skills and knowledge to his local workforce and then leave his country! 

Currently, we are seeing more Australians working in our private sector who are not qualified for the job. Some of them are being taught by us and grow from leading hand to manager... What are disgrace to our work permit system!! Asians are the same.. They spread their empire like fire, how do we Papua New Guineans stop pest eating our garden? Can the next government change the Labour Act so it suits our interest? Can the permit system include strict duration of contract employment?

Furthermore, Australians adopted the Aboriginal tool so call boomerang and they embedded the idea into their everyday business and so for every dollar they spend overseas in the form of projects or donations they must 50% - 95% of the earnings back to Australia. 

A good example is Asylum Seekers project in Manus. They give and take everything away. Just a little portion of it is being eaten by Manusians. Asians used a different tactic in business. They are suppressing the kina value! What they are doing is save little in PNG and shipped huge amount of PNG Kina back to their respective countries. 

We Papua New Guineans are their FOOLS! They play us like BALLS. It starts from PM down to ordinary citizen. They used monies in tens to thousands of kina just to bribe our labour ministry, port services, law & order systems and you have all the lists.. Our God given mentality change like EVE when she ate the forbidden fruit!!!
Papua New Guineans, please let us act now to prevent the destruction to come in the future... Don't turn a blind eye..Papua New Guineans let write in any form either as proposal, complaint or letter to the department of labour and the NEC or even the supreme court to review our Labour system so you and I plus our generations to come will benefit from it.....

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Another social media commentator on the same issue saying:

New rules in Australia - is Skilled workers only. Not "specialists". And skills have to be proven. They are reducing the number of occupations available for foreigners to fill.. The Time has reduced to 2 years for the standard permits. And English is pretty much a prerequisite.

But you can make all the rules you want - it still needs be enforced. Sometimes too many rules can stop proper development.

I think in PNG the one that stands out the most is at CPL and Chemcare etc. You can't tell me after 40 years of independence no PNGean has qualified to be a simple pharmacist. So where are they - all working overseas? And why is it always a foreigner behind the prescription counter at our pharmacies ??


* Dr Carmen Voigt-Graf is a former Senior Research Fellow with the Economic Policy Research Program at NRI (2014-2016), as well as a Fellow at the Development Policy Centre at the Australian National University. She received her PhD from the University of Sydney.


Photo: Sri Lankans were given the contract of ruling the white lines on one of the roads in Port Moresby with improper working gears.


"I don't see giving contract to the Asians will come to an end because there are good number of current government MPs who has love affairs with Asian women." says Charlie Clyde Tikaro‎ on PNG social Media (Facebook).

Source: PNG Loop

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