By SHEILA LASIBORI
FOREIGN nationals recruited to work in PNG must ensure they follow proper procedures to legitimise their status in the country, secretary to the National Government Manasupe Zurenuoc said.
The chief secretary Zurenuoc said: “The presence of illegal aliens and the employment of illegal foreigners are major security concerns.”
Mr Zurenuoc made particular reference to the recent events involving Allied Gold Ltd, the 14 Fijians and PNG Immigration including Police.
“The manner in which the Fijians were recruited by Allied Gold raises serious concerns pertaining to the direct violations of both Immigration and Labour laws.
“I urge all foreign companies operating in the country to fully comply with the mandatory requirements of employing foreign nationals in PNG.”
Mr Zurenuoc said the court found that the Fijians were illegally working in the country and were deported.
The Department of Labour and Industrial Relations had raised concerns regarding foreign employees and foreign-registered companies operating in PNG.
Acting secretary for Labour Department David Tibu said expatriate employees including consultants are required to hold valid work permits under the Employment of Non-citizen’s Act 2007.
Mr Tibu said this after the Labour Department’s work permit inspectors visited mobile phone company bemobile last November to hold discussions on foreign employment (work permit) requirements during the “Orange Men” promotion.
“bemobile has only eight work permits issued to date … we got news that the ‘Orange Men are coming’ which could mean, non-citizens, on business visa, which are prohibited for employment purposes.
“We sent in our work permit inspectors who were refused entry for two days before they were allowed in and eventually they were able to sit down and discuss the foreign employment requirements,” Mr Tibu said.
bemobile staff on anonymity confirmed that some of its foreign workers did not have the appropriate documents to work in PNG and so left the country last Nov 11.
Mr Tibu said these “foreign” workers could return to PNG once they have sorted out their work documents appropriately.
“If and when they comply with all of the requirements for foreign employment in PNG and they hold valid work permits (issued by the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations) with relevant resident employment visa (issued by PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service), then they may be allowed back into the country,” he said.
The then bemobile chief executive officer Roger Blott had responded saying: “It is not bemobile policy to comment on internal matters.
“However, as a good corporate citizen, bemobile takes compliance with all the laws of PNG very seriously and will not knowingly violate any of them … that obviously includes the laws regarding employment and immigration.”
Mr Tibu also raised concerns on possible tax evasion by companies if they were not duly registered with Investment Promotion Authority (IPA).
“I want to stress that taxation is one of the major reasons why companies inclusive of foreign registered companies must register with IPA. And unless companies register with IPA, work permits cannot be processed”.