Papua New Guinea

Workers from Papua New Guinea, Australia’s closest neighbour, have significant experience in agriculture, fisheries and horticulture work.

Find out how to recruit workers

Where is Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is Australia’s closest neighbour with a population of approximately 7.7 million people.  

The people of PNG are as diverse as the landscape, with 800 known languages spoken across the country.

The country has rural villagers who rely on subsistence agriculture and fishing, as well as urban dwellers who enjoy a modern lifestyle in the main cities of Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, Wewak, Goroka, Mt Hagen and Rabaul.  

Why recruit workers from Papua New Guinea?

PNG is committed to providing Australian employers with the highest quality workforce. The strength of this commitment is demonstrated through rigorous in-country recruitment processes and pre-departure training to ensure PNG workers are mentally focused, productive and have a strong work ethic.

Pauline from PNG picking at Ironbark Citrus

Agriculture and horticulture

Eighty percent of people in Papua New Guinea (PNG) earn a living from subsistence agriculture and selling crops in domestic and international markets.

Workers have extensive farming experience and agricultural knowledge and are accustomed to manual labour.

For Australian farmers, this presents an untapped labour force, with men and women experienced in working the land for their livelihoods. 


Communities in the country’s highland region are known for producing high-quality commercial honey.

They have experience and training in beekeeping and are aptly skilled to fill gaps in the Australian apiculture sector.


Graduates from the National Fisheries College are well placed to fill gaps in the Australian fisheries industry.

The college produces graduates in Certificate 1, 2 and 3 in Commercial Fishing, Commercial Aquaculture and Post-harvest Operations.

PNG can provide aquaculture workers, deck and fishing hands, seafood process workers and post-harvest packers.

To recruit workers from Papua New Guinea (PNG), an Australian employer must be registered as an Approved Employer through the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) or Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS), or they must recruit workers through a labour-hire firm that is an Approved Employer.

To find out more about becoming an Approved Employer, visit the SWP employer information page on the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business website or the PLS employer information page.

Once approved, employers can recruit workers. Please email (SWP) or (PLS) for more information.

The Australian Government has two visa schemes available for Papua New Guinea (PNG) nationals to work in Australia.

The Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) provides access to unskilled work opportunities for up to nine months in the Australian agricultural and accommodation sectors (in selected locations).

The Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) enables citizens of PNG to take up low-skilled and semi-skilled work for one to three years in rural and regional areas of Australia.

PNG is currently taking applications in Lae, Madang, Kavieng and Enga.

Labour mobility hubs are currently in progress for other regions. Please email (SWP) or (PLS) for more information.

To join the Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP), an applicant must: 

  • be between 2145 years old 
  • hold a valid passport 
  • be physically fit and healthy 
  • be of good character 
  • be a PNG rural-based citizen 
  • be unemployed at the time of application 
  • be educated to at least Grade 10 level and can understand English 
  • have a genuine reason to enter Australia for seasonal work and return to PNG after the contract ceases
  • be committed to undertaking self-employable opportunities using the skills, knowledge and savings that have been acquired as part of the SWP. 

To join the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS), an applicant must: 

  • be between 2145 years old
  • hold a valid passport for the duration of the contract 
  • be physically fit and healthy for the work specified
  • have a written record for their last 10 years of employment  
  • have no police criminal record; workers who have lived in a foreign country for 12 months or more after the age of 16, or worked on a foreign ship for 12 months or more, require a police check from that country 
  • be of good character
  • have the qualifications and/or work experience required by employers 
  • have a reasonable standard of English unless Australian licensing mandates a higher standard
  • demonstrate a positive attitude to work and a willingness to learn and commit to the employer’s values.

All services associated with the SWP and the PLS are free of charge.

PNG is currently taking applications in Lae, Madang, Kavieng and Enga. Labour mobility hubs are currently in progress for other regions.

Please email (SWP) or (PLS) for more information.

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View more countries participating in the Pacific Labour Scheme