PNG Labor Minister: Foreign Employment Up, Often In Positions "Locals" Should Have

By Helen Tarawa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, September 30, 2016) – There is an increase in number of foreigners doing jobs that locals can do, Minister for Labour and Employment Benjamin Poponawa says.

He told The National that occupations such as forklift drivers and tucker shop operators were being filled by foreigners.

He said at the opening of new office for the Department of Labour and Employment at Gaukara Rumana House that the increase in foreign labour in PNG was a concern.

“We have Papua New Guineans who can do those sorts of jobs,” Poponawa said.
“If these foreigners are here on a special purpose, let them do their work and train Papua New Guineans to do those sorts of things.

“Operating a forklift doesn’t need a trainer and even a tucker shop operator doesn’t need a trainer. We need to check but we are only concerned with work permits.”

Poponawa said the labour department and foreign affairs department must work together to monitor some of the foreigners coming to the country.

“Some of these guys might be here on tourist visas, businesses visas that we need to closely monitor,” he said.
Poponawa said some construction companies from overseas wanted to bring their own workers.

“That’s where I’m handicapped,” he said.

“Building contractors coming in like the PNG LNG project have all these tied in their agreements so Labour doesn’t have a say in it.”

The National
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