The Pacific Engagement Visa in PNG: a how-to guide

PNG workers at Binderee Beef in Inverell, NSW. You can apply for the PEV from Australia. (Facebook/PNGLMU)

From 3 June to 1 August 2024, citizens from selected countries in the Pacific and Timor Leste will be able to register in an open ballot, hoping to be one of the lucky 3,000 people who will be invited to obtain permanent residency in Australia under the Pacific Engagement Visa (visa subclass 192) scheme.

To take advantage of the full PEV quota of 1,350 visas for Papua New Guinea, active forward planning is required by individuals to enter the ballot and then to secure a visa if successful in the ballot.

The ballot

First, you must be between 18 and 45 years of age at the time of completing the online registration. You must be a PNG citizen and be born in or have one parent born in PNG or Australia, NZ or another Pacific country. You don’t have be in PNG to make your application. Those in Australia on another visa, such as students (500 subclass visa holders) and PALM workers (403 and 482 visa holders) are eligible to apply for the PEV.

Second, if you do not already have one, you’ll need to secure a national identity card or birth certificate and then a passport. You can include your family (partner and legally dependent children) in your application and if you are successful your family will also get permanent residency. However, only the primary applicant needs a passport. Long processing times and black-market fees make this hurdle formidable.

Third, you must be able to afford data to access the internet to complete the online ballot registration and have a valid email address to monitor the progress of your registration. PNG has only three mobile network operators (Digicel, Vodafone and Telikom) and around 22% of its population is connected to the internet. Limited competition drives high internet costs. Smarter data usage at high-speed times during the day on combo plans will help ensure that costs remain low and connectivity good.

Fourth, you’ll need a credit card or access to something like PayPal to pay the A$25 (K65) registration fee, which is the same whether the application is for a single person or for a family. Alternatively, you need to find and pay an intermediary to make the application and payment on your behalf.

After your ballot application is complete, you’ll be waiting anxiously to receive an invitation to progress to the next steps of the PEV. You don’t need a job offer to enter the ballot, you just need to meet the eligibility criteria. However, the waiting period should be used to access popular Australian job seek portals to get a sense of labour market needs and prepare job applications so you are ready to apply if an invitation email arrives.

After the ballot

If your name is randomly selected from the ballot, you will start the visa process by confirming your participation online. There are several associated post-ballot hurdles to obtaining the visa. Costs will depend on how many dependants were included in your ballot registration and their ages.

The first hurdle is to get a job offer. The Australian government will help you do this through the Pacific Engagement Visa Support Service it has established in each of its participating countries that will run outreach campaigns to explain the visa requirements.

The second hurdle is a medical health assessment with a registered panel physician. These assessments are only available in Port Moresby, Lae, Goroka, Mt Hagen and Enga.

Third, you’ll need to meet the PEV English language requirements. This is automatically taken care of if you can show you are a secondary school graduate or if you have worked or studied at the secondary level in Australia for a year, or lived overseas in the UK, US, Canada or New Zealand for a year. If not, you’ll need to do an English language test and meet the prescribed standard, or undertake to improve your English via study in Australia.

Fourth, a police clearance must be obtained from the PNG authorities.

Fifth, you’ll need passports for other family members on the application if they don’t already have one.

Sixth, applicants will have to show they can support themselves for the first 12 months in Australia. However, whether this requires more than a job offer remains to be seen.

Applicants will have only four months (120 days) to meet these requirements. Once you do so, you can then apply for a visa (A$325 for the main applicant and A$80 per family member).

The costs involved to enter the ballot and post-ballot costs are illustrated below in Figure 1. As per this example (which assumes no dependants and work in Brisbane), the cost to enter the ballot is only K185 and the cost of applying for the visa is about K2,405.

However, the cost of actually moving to Australia is closer to K10,000 because you’ll also need to purchase an airfare to Australia and require some settling-in funds. You might need to buy kitchen goods, bedding and furniture for your accommodation. Landlords also usually require an accommodation bond payment in addition to rent.

This cost of living calculator is a useful tool to figure out how much it would cost to live in different parts of Australia. For example, in Brisbane the estimated cost of living for one month based on living in a one-bedroom apartment and using bus transport is A$2,400. I have included this amount in Table 1 as indicative of settling-in costs, which will vary according to individual circumstances and location.

While the costs are substantial, the PEV is a great opportunity. It will be attractive to the many PNG citizens who cannot wait for the PNG Government’s promise of one million jobs to be created by 2030. Like permanent residents, PEV holders will have immediate access to Medicare, Family Tax Benefit B and the Child Care Subsidy. They will also receive additional benefits including access to Family Tax Benefit A, the Higher Education Loan Program, Vocational Education and Training Student Loans and other study and training support.

New Zealand offers a visa similar to the PEV to several Pacific countries (not PNG) and it receives many more applicants than visas available. If PNG’s PEV participation rate is low, similar to that seen in the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme, it would be another missed opportunity for Australia and PNG.

The Pacific Engagement Visa Support Service has now launched a website at pev.gov.au. Follow the Pacific Engagement Visa Facebook page for updates to this website.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs website contains full details on the PEV visa and the PEV ballot.

Go to this page on 3 June 2024 to get the link for your ballot application:
https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/pacific-engagement/ballot-registration/ballot-country-status

See also our previous PEV blogs.

The Development Policy Centre will post up-to-date information on the PEV visa and ballot on our 2024 PEV application factsheet.

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Natasha Turia

Natasha Turia is a development practitioner and Papua New Guinean PhD candidate at the Department of Pacific Affairs, Australian National University.

111 Comments

      • Hi Natasha! I had created my ImmiAccount already. Can you guide me to fill/apply my application.

        Thanks 😊

        Leo Mega-aveh.

  • Hi Natasha thank-you for the information, if I do not have credit card or have access to PayPal payments, what are the other options for registration.

  • Hi Natasha, thank you very much for the valuable information. I have a question in regards to the Settlement Support.

    It is anticipated there are no waiting periods for Pacific Engagement Visa holders to access certain benefits such as access to Australia’s universal health care system Medicare, as well as public schools, access to a range of benefits to assist with the cost of raising a family and to ease the financial burden of education and training. This includes access to Family Tax Benefit (FTB) A and B
    However , what does it meant that newly arrived residents may have to wait before they can access certain Australian Government payments and benefits when there are no waiting periods for PEV holders to access the support services?

      • Hi hello. I am one of the intending applicants and I meet all the requirements. just a quick question here. I don’t have a job offer yet but I have friends in Australia who willing to accommodate me so if it’s okay I can go stay with them temporary and for how long until I secure a job to support myself.
        please your reply will be much appreciated. Thankyou.

        • You first have to enter the ballot. You don’t need a job offer for that. If you are successful in the ballot, you will then need a job offer. If you have another visa and can afford to, you can go to Australia to find a job offer. Otherwise, you can use the Australian government matching service. You’ll have four months from ballot success to get the job offer. Good luck, Stephen

  • Hi Natash-Good evening.
    I am interested to apply for this program. When I read through the information pack I see that I meet all the necessary requirements. Please assist and guide me to go through. Thanks

  • Hey there Natasha, if I applied as a graduated grade 12 student and if my application is randomly selected, will I be able to secure a job with year 12 being my highest level of education?

    • Hi McQueen,

      The ballot is designed to ensure that “there is equal access for people of any skill level, occupation and gender”.

      The Australian Government has established the Pacific Engagement Visa Support Service to support applicants with advice from the ballot stage to visa stage that includes job placements. Follow their website and keep an eye out for when they host information sessions in PNG

      https://www.pev.gov.au/

      If you are eligible, go ahead and register.

      I hope this response encourages many other young Papua New Guinean women and men. Consider the total costs to permanently migrate so you can start setting aside some money in anticipation for a successful ballot outcome. You don’t need K10,000 up front, but you need to access funds to pay for the associated cost if you’re invited to start the visa process.

      Remember, it’s an annual ballot. If you’re not successful in this round, it doesn’t stop you from trying again in subsequent rounds and at least you’ll also have more time to set aside more funds if you need it.

      All the best!

      • Hi Natasha
        I am very interested but I was born in a different country but now I am a citizen of Timor Leste am I now eligible? Thanks

          • My parents were born outside Specific Island. But I am a Timor leste citizen by marriage am I now Elizabeth.thanks

          • It sounds like you might not be. However, your partner would be eligible to apply if s/he was born in an eligible countries or one of their parernts were. You could then be part of your partner’s application.

  • I am interested but unfortunately I won’t qualify due to the age limit. However my son is currently studying in Brisbane under student visa 500 subclass and he is interested in applying. Can he include me (parent) and his younger brother as a dependant?

    • Hi Millie,

      I don’t think your son can include you (Father) and brother on his ballot registration because you would both not be considered as his dependents for his family unit.

      For visa purposes, members of the family unit do not include the primary applicant’s parents or partners parents, aunts, uncles, or cousins.

      Your son in Brisbane is eligible to register for the ballot. If his ballot registration is successful and he is able to satisfy all the visa requirements, I encourage you to support him first.

      • Thanks alot Natasha for the clarification. I will support my son for now. What is the closing date for submission of the application for the ballot?

  • Hi Natasha, thank you for your time & effort in putting this information together. Would this apply to an individual that already has a parent who is an Australian citizen by marriage?

  • I am very interested in this programe,its gonna be a life changing programme for all Papua new Guinean s

  • This is such a great opportunity for Papua New Guineans between the ages of 18 and 45 to apply for.

    I think the estimated cost of living in Brisbane should be multiplied with 12 months to give K75,600. I say this because under the Item 2 section 192.212 of the Migration Amendment (Subclass 192 (Pacific Engagement) Visa) Regulations 2024, the applicant successful selected applicant is required to have adequate means of funds to support himself/herself for the next 12 months. By saying this I would assume that in the “actual PEV application” there would be a requirement to show your latest bank statement showing proof that you have roughly K75,000 or more.

    Natasha do correct me if my assumption is wrong.

    • I can reply to this one. Government is yet to say what the “adequate means” requirement involves, but I think that is highly unlikely that you’ll need a huge bank balance. I think as long as you’ve got a job offer, you’ll be considered to have adequate means. It wouldn’t make sense for the government to put up barriers to people getting a PEV visa if they are successful in the ballot. As soon as we find out more, we’ll let you know. But I certainly wouldn’t let lack of a large bank balance stop you from entering the PEV ballot. Regards, Stephen Howes.

  • Thank you Natasha for the opportunity for us Papua New Guineans to apply for this program.

  • Hi Natasha,

    Appreciate the valuable information provided.

    Question:
    1. If my wife is not legally married to me, will she still be considered if I put her name on as dependents?

    2. If both my wife and daughter are yet to get a passport or in the case of my daughter a birth certificate, will that affect the application?

    3. If I applied but exclude my dependents due to the above, can I still include them later on in the visa application?

    Would appreciate you responds to above.

    Cheers!

    • Hi BG,

      Thank you for your question. I will respond to each one according to what is available on the ballot registration website.

      1. If you are not legally married, but live together in a committed relationship, that is considered a de facto relation. You can include her on your registration.

      2. Remember, the visa process is conditional upon a successful ballot registration outcome. So, at the time of first registering (i.e. paying $25), only the primary applicant is required to provide passport details and you can still include your family’s details – without their passport details because it’s not required for the ballot registration process. Only yours.

      If your ballot registration is successful, then for the visa process all family members will need to provide passport details. Go ahead and register yourself first (including your family who have no passports) and work on getting their passports pending the outcome of your registration.

      3. If you don’t include them in the registration, they will not be part of your visa application if you have a successful ballot outcome. Q2 above should give you some relief in proceeding to register yourself and your non-passport family members.

      All the best.

  • Hi Natasha,

    Thankyou for the information,I very much needed it.
    My husband is working in Australia, under PALM scheme and he us well aware of this,and he’s awaiting for the mentioned registration dates.My question is,,”is it necessary for me to apply as well?”

    • Hi Loa,

      According to the Ballot registration website, under “Include family” it states that “Eligible family members (such as a spouse or child aged over 18) can also register in the ballot separately.”

      It is a ballot, so if you want to increase your chances of being selected and you and your spouse can register separately (provided you both meet the ballot eligibility requirement) then you should register on your own too. But this means, you will pay the registration fee twice for making two separate registrations.

      For more information on the ballot eligibility please see the link below.

      https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/pacific-engagement/ballot-registration/ballot-eligibility

  • I am very interested to participate in this program. This program is very helpful for us Papua New Guinea citizens. Please keep me up to date on this program.

  • Firstly I wanna thank you Natasha for your time and commitment getting all these information available for us.

    Secondly my son has all the necessary documents required as he’ll be undertaking his study next year, 2025 as he as been given a scholarship by the Ferguson Education of Australia to study there.

    I am asking he is eligible to apply for a permanent residency?

    Thanks

    • Hi Robin,

      Thank you for your question.

      According to the Ballot registration website, so long as the applicant has met the ballot eligibility criteria they can register. This includes Papua New Guineans already in Australia on student 500 subclass, PALM 403 subclass and Temporary Skill Shortage subclass 482 visas.

      Invitation to start the visa process for permanent residency is conditional upon a successful ballot outcome first. All visa requirements must be met to receive a PEV as the final step.

      I hope others who have similar questions, will appreciate your question.

      For more information on ballot eligibility please visit the link below.

      https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/pacific-engagement/ballot-registration/ballot-eligibility

  • I came to Oz nearly 50years ago and very surprised on how Australia immigration policy to the Pacific Islanders of late. I know China is snarling at the Pacific islands, its massive stretch of waters as source of protein, sands and minerals to explore for the millennium. Just wonder if we (Pacific Islanders) ever thought to band together to create a thing called the Pacific Union – like the EU. You would probably say we have the South Pacific Commission – but that is very loosely arranged so we remain as the under-dog always. Pacific Union to include all island nations as far as Philippine, Indonesia, Micronesia, Hawaii, Easter Islands, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomons + PNG. With Clean Energy we have the biggest Solar surface area in the World – note our Solar panels will be in the form of Solar Bubble Mats floating on Ocean surfaces. We can even run our Electric trains below the Ocean floor from island to island. Funding infrastructure projects would manageable. With technological innovations developing with help AI to assist. If the multi-nationals and the super-Powers can just take it easy, then the whole World would have much brighter future. For consideration.

  • Hi Natasha,

    Thanks for the helpful information. I am interested in this but can people over 45 accepted ?

    Thank you.

  • hi Natasha,
    My name is Francis John Igo. I do have all the required documents, and I’m currently at Marlborough-New Zealand. Thanks.

  • Hi Natasha

    I appreciate your efforts in providing detailed information on this visa which I believe the majority of eligible PNGeans are unaware of. I’ll be sure to share your article with family and friends.

    Eugene

  • I’m waiting for the given date above to start the application.

    I’m really interested in this life changing opportunity.

  • I’m very interested in this program. Currently I’m in Queensland and have a 403 visa for 4 years, also have a certificate III in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. I’ll apply then after I’m selected I’ll bring in my wife and children.

  • Thank you Natasha for the guide for us Papua New Guineans. I have few points for you to further elaborate on if possible.

    * The location (state/city) that you ultimately choose will be guided by your job offer?
    * The Police clearance certificate will be a visa police clearance and not normal employment police clearance?
    * What happens if my spouse gets a job offer first when I am the principal applicant?

    • Hi Roland,

      In answer to your questions:

      1) Yes, job location determines your place of residence in Australia and cost of living in that state

      2) According to the Home Affairs website it is the normal PNG police clearance that costs K65

      3) This is the job requirement of the visa that allows for either you or your spouse (even if you are the principal applicant) to secure a job offer

      Good luck!

  • I am Niabe Kama, from Simbu province Papua New Guinea, I current passport and relevant education documents. I am willing to be the participant of Pacific Engagement Visa program.

  • Hi Natasha,on behalf of the single mothers in Enga Province in PNG I really appreciate and thank you for this opportunity .May God richly bless you.

  • Hi Natasha thank-you for your information. I’ve been to Australia for six months contract last year, I have passport and other documents but my visa had been expired on March. What will be the next process for me to part take this program, I am very interested to join.

  • Thank you Natasha for the useful information. Iam very much interested in this program but I am at the age of 50yrs, can I still apply?

  • For example my daughter is 43 yrs old. She has a daughter aged 23 years and a 13 years old son. Can she apply as a family including her kids?

    • Hi Osila,

      Referring to the Department of Home Affairs website for ballot eligibility, your daughter can register and include her 23 daughter and 13 year old son as her family unit.

      The primary applicant (i.e. your daughter) is:
       between 18-45 at the time of the registration period and includes legal dependents
       includes a child who is NOT engaged, married or in an de factor relationship and in your case is aged between 18-23 – is a dependant of the main applicant.

      If there are others who have similar questions around family unit composition, especially if you have dependent children who are over 18, the cut off age seems to be 23. See link below.

      Ballot registration – https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/getting-a-visa/visa-listing/pacific-engagement/ballot-registration/overview

      I strongly advise our fellow Papua New Guineans to check out the Pacific Engagement Visa Support Services who are best placed to support you from registration through to post ballot if you are lucky to receive an invitation to apply for the PEV.

      The Pacific Engagement Visa Support Service – https://www.pev.gov.au/

  • Thank you Natasha for all these information.. I am interested to participate. Kind regards/ Elizabeth

    • Hi Natasha
      Thank you for the information I really appreciate it very much. I’m very interested

  • I am totally interested in this particular program which is very helpful especially for Papua New Guineans. Will it be OK for me to apply if I’m 17 years old and on December 12 this year I’m going to turn 18?

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