By GYNNIE KERO
AN employer can now get work permits for its workers at the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority (PNG ICA) at a shorter period of time compared to the previous 12 months, according to chief migration officer Stanis Hulahau.
He announced this yesterday at the merger of the work permit and work visa processes at the authority’s office in Port Moresby.
The work permit functions of the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations have been transferred to the PNG ICA.
Acting secretary George Taunakekai said all work permit staff, assets and IT infrastructure from the department had been transferred to the authority.
Hulahau said the merger was part of the Government’s commitment to create a one-stop-shop and improve the ease of doing business in the country.
He said by next month, businesses which hired skilled foreign employees could lodge their work permit applications at the authority.
“The work on merging the visa and work permit has taken a long process. We have now completed the first phase. Still have second and third phases to go.”
He said to adequately merge the two systems meant that “we can have one visa one work permit system to provide ease of doing business and effectively police and monitor border security for our country”.
He said the merger was necessary because businesses had been complaining about the amount of bureaucratic red tapes or processes to obtain work permits.
“We are yet to discuss the merging of the fees. Right now we have two different fees for visa and work permits,” he said.
He said there were two systems running.
“(We have the) border management that processes the visa and we have the work permit system that processes the permit,” he said.
“In the interim, people will be submitting two separate applications to one agency (PNG ICA) for the next quarter.
“But going into the second quarter of next year, I am already talking to Datec and other service providers to look at us merging the two systems, so we will have one computer system processing visa and work permit.
“When you lodge an application for visa, that form is a work permit application as well. When a visa is issued, it is also a work permit.”
By GYNNIE KERO