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July 14, 2020
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Minister for Immigration on Fijian Personnel to work on Manus Detention Centre

Source: Media statement by Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Hon. Petrus Thomas, MP

The Minister for Immigration and Border Security Hon. Petrus Thomas, MP made a formal statement yesterday on the recruitment of Fijians and other foreigners as security personnel under a new contract arrangement with the company Paladin Solutions that will take over the current contractor Broadspectrum on November 1, 2017.

“I have noted with concern the arrangement by the new contractor Paladin Solutions to bring in 42 Fijians to work on Manus as security guards at the new’ locations where the refugees and non-refugees will be accommodated. This arrangement is done without any consultation with PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority to consider concerns of local security service providers and the Manus Provincial Government,” said Minister Thomas.

“Last week the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority have refused entry at Jacksons International Airport to 31 employees of Paladin Solutions who had arrived without any visa to travel to Manus to work. They have been informed of our requirements for the company to comply with before any visas for foreign nationals to work are processed”, said Minister Thomas.

“I would like to remind any foreign contractor that the immigration laws and visa policies of the county must be complied with to be engaged in lawful employment”, said Minister Thomas.

“As of today (291017), there are no foreign security personnel in Manus. The company will be responsible to submit necessary visa application documents for any foreign security personnel that will be engaged and used, will be given the priority based on our requirements.” said Minister Thomas.

Minister Thomas has expressed that the mass arrangements going forward must continue to reflect national content in the contracts where local companies must continue to benefit directly or by retaining employment of locals who have had the necessary training and experience in the last four years in provision of garrison and security services. The government will not support the recruitment of large number of foreign workers particularly for positions that are reserved for nationals and jobs that can be undertaken by locals.

The provincial leaders and local sub-contractors have raised their concerns on the loss of business and employment opportunities and the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority has conveyed the government’s position to Australian officials and the new contractors Paladin Solutions and NWK Group. I urge Australia to respect PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority as the implementing agency and work in consultation with them to progress the closure of the MRPC and address landowner and local political sensitivities to see a successful closure of the MRPC and transition arrangements, said Minister Thomas”.

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