Papua New Guinea to Send 8,000 Workers to Australia and New Zealand by 2025

In a bold move to stimulate economic growth and reduce unemployment, the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has announced its target to send 8,000 workers to Australia and New Zealand by 2025. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to enhance employment opportunities for its citizens.

To achieve this target, PNG has established a Labour Mobility Unit (LMU) and introduced labour mobility reforms. The LMU has partnered with Participating District Administrations & Provincial Governments, forming Regional Recruitment Hubs (RRHs). These RRHs will act as agents and financiers to meet in-country mobilisation costs, while the LMU will manage the Worker Readiness Pathway (WRP) to ensure the right workers are matched with the right jobs.

Despite the challenges and the fact that PNG, with a population of almost nine million people, remains one of the lowest sending countries compared to its Pacific Island Countries (PICs) neighbours, the government remains confident in achieving its goal. The initiative is expected to generate an estimated PGK140 million in remittances from the workers to their families.

Even with travel restrictions due to COVID-19, PNG has made significant progress. From November 2019 to September 2021, hundreds of workers have been prepared and mobilised. With borders reopening, an additional 1,200 workers are ready for mobilisation.

As PNG moves forward with this initiative, it will need to address several key considerations to ensure sustainability. These include mitigating risks associated with the disbursement of funds, reducing in-country mobilisation costs, exploring the pros and cons of mobile panel physicians, and developing standard systems and processes to build the capacity of the LMU and RRHs.

The initiative is not only significant for PNG but also offers an alternative recruitment model that could benefit other low mobility PICs. “We know our new approach to labour mobility will set the standard for the region,” said Hon. Ian Ling-Stuckey, Minister for Treasury.

In BRIEF: To stimulate economic growth and decrease unemployment, Papua New Guinea (PNG) aims to send 8,000 workers to Australia and New Zealand by 2025. The strategy includes establishing a Labour Mobility Unit and Regional Recruitment Hubs to manage and finance worker mobilization. Despite challenges and the ongoing pandemic, significant progress has been made, with potential remittances estimated at PGK140 million. This initiative could serve as a model for other Pacific Island Countries.

You may also like...