PNG Seeks Ways To Provide Jobs For Released Refugees

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Immigration works with Lae businesses to find employment

By Abraham Avediba

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 3, 2015) – Asylum seekers and refugees may be granted employment in Lae based on the outcome of discussions between the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Services Authority (ICSA) and various firms next Monday.

The meeting comes after the approval of the National Refugee Policy and an agreement of a regional resettlement Agreement by the National Government.

PNG ICSA confirmed that the meeting in Lae will be focused on getting feedback from the corporate bodies on ways they can assist in providing employment to refugees.

Deputy chief migration officer Esther Gaegaming, in a note to the Lae business community, confirmed that efforts had already been made to ensure the policy is implemented.

She stressed that according to the policy, a refugee can only be granted permission to move out of the Manus Detention Centre once they have secured employment.

"Helping refugees is not just a moral responsibility but an opportunity to help the growth of businesses and economy.

"We welcome efforts in creating employment opportunities and other settlement options for the refugees in Manus from the business community," she said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbink Pato confirmed that refugees will be placed in various locations of the country once consultative meets with stakeholders are completed.

"Many refugees have skills and experience that are in short supply and greatly needed by PNG businesses that the cabinet has endorsed in the National Refugee Policy.

"Settlement of refugees is not easy and we have to ensure refugees are not competing for employment and income earning opportunities with our citizens," he said.

About 50 men have been confirmed for release from detention on Manus Island and they technically have residency, however, they haven’t been allowed to leave the island or work.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government has welcomed Papua New Guinea’s announcement it will soon allow refugees to settle permanently in the country.

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