Minister for Immigration and Border Security, the Hon. Westly Nukundi Nukundj, MP has today commended Parliament on the passage of legislation to amend the Immigration and Citizenship Authority Act and the Employment of Non- Citizen’s Act.
“These amendments will enable the transfer of the work permit function from the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations to the Immigration and Citizenship Authority. This delivers on the long-standing commitment of successive governments to establish a true one-stop-shop for the administration and regulation of foreign workers”, Mr Nukundj said.
Speaking earlier today, the Minister noted that these amendments were first proposed as far back as 15 years ago, and that it had always been intended that the Immigration & Citizenship Authority take over the function.
“When the Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority was established in 2010, it was envisaged that the work permit function would move across to the new entity. Unfortunately, this never happened, with public servants becoming territorial and deliberately blocking attempts by the Government to amend relevant laws.
“But now, the Marape Government has delivered on this reform which will not only provide much needed relief and removal of red tape for the legitimate business community, but significantly improve our border security, compliance and enforcement capacity”, Mr Nukundj said.
Implementation of the new arrangements will see the work permit function become a division of the Immigration and Citizenship Authority, and over time, systems, laws and regulations will be aligned to enable a more integrated and streamlined process.
“This does not mean that the Department of Labour will no longer play a role. The Department will continue to administer the legal framework in regard to the classification of occupations and reserved positions, with the Secretary for Labour to join the Immigration and Citizenship Authority Service Advisory Board”, the Minister said.
Minister Nukundj thanked his colleague, Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations, Hon. Tomaik Kapili, MP for supporting the reform process.
“I look forward to working with Minister Kapili in implementing this critical change and ensuring that we protect jobs that should rightfully be given to Papua New Guinean workers, whilst at the same time also ensuring we maintain the integrity of our border and combat transnational crime”, Mr Nukundj said.