About fifty two refugees have agreed to settle in Papua New Guinea and are now looking for employment while 178 have yet to decide what they want.
Those that want to settle in the country are now currently residing at the Manus Transit centre but they will not be allowed outside the province unless they are formally employed.
The PNG Migration and Citizenship services have engaged HR company JDA wokman to help source job opportunities for them.
Deputy Chief Migration Officer Esther Gaegaming says this is a requirement under the new National Refugee Policy approved in October by the Government.
The policy aims to build refugee self-sufficiency and enables them to contribute to PNG’s economic development.
She says for now, the refugees have a Refugee Visa and a Certificate of Identity. This is for them to travel within the country and overseas.
However, for now, they remain will not be allowed out of Manus until they are employed.
Gaegaming says refugees have a right to move around freely and seek protection in Papua New Guinea.
About 961 asylum seekers at the Lombrum Processing Centre will also be screened before their status’ are determined.
Meanwhile, PNG is also preparing to give citizenship status to West Papuans working and living around the country. PNG Immigration and Authority says process are underway to grant citizenship to West Papuan refugees.
Deputy Chief Migration Officer and director of refugees Esther Gaegaming said about 3000 West Papuan refugees at the East Awin refugee camp in Iowara, Kuinga in North Fly, Western, had been registered.
“Our division has commenced a registration and naturalisation project to West Papuan refugees across the country,” she said.
“My team has registered about 3000 West Papuan refugees. Most of them are qualified for citizenship and we will be going through the processes with them.
“The Government has made a decision to offer them citizenship. But we will have to verify their details and process their applications.”
Gaegaming said refugees were the most vulnerable people in the world who needed help.
The West Papuan refugees have been living in PNG for more than 15 years.
“There is the greatest humanitarian crisis of all time (displacement of refugees) happening across the world,” she said.
“Millions of people flee their homes because of war, persecution, seeking protection. Some of the most vulnerable people in the world that we talk about today are the refugees.
“We have had the West Papuans for the last 15 years or so since the 1960 and we are familiar with their situations.
“They have been with us for so long and we often take it for granted that they are fine and okay. But every person in this world is entitled to a home and some legal rights that are attached to citizens.”The Government has also lifted the K10,000 naturalisation fee for the refugees.