Govt to relax visa laws for skilled workers

National, Normal

THE Government is proposing to remove visa restrictions on skilled technicians who are required to perform emergencies at project sites in the country.
Acting Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu announced yesterday that the National Executive Council (NEC) has approved the creation of a new class of visa “to remove impediments to economic growth and improve productivity in major resource projects”.
The visa, to be known as the restricted employment visa (REV), is to facilitate an amendment to the Employment of Non-Citizens Act 2007 and the Migration Regulation Act 1979.
Sir Puka said the REV was the result of ongoing consultations between the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations and the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Services, all stakeholders, business houses, non-governmental organisations and the public.
Amendments would be made to the Employment of Non-Citizens Act 2007 by inserting paragraph (f) under section 5(1), Migration Regulation 1979 and Migration Fees Regulation 1982 to facilitate REV, he said.
Sir Puka said whenever a plant or machinery broke down in any of the major resource project developers such as Ok Tedi Mining Ltd, Lihir Gold Ltd or Barrick Gold Ltd, it had not been easy to bring in technical specialists to attend to an emergency situation.
Due to the length of time taken to process work permits and entry permit visas, time and productivity were lost on the mine sites which further impacted on the country’s revenue.
Sir Puka said the REV would overcome the lack of skilled technical specialists in the country and to expedite the import of such skilled technical specialists.
Parliament will consider the amendments in its next sitting.