An outlook to the future of expat work in the pacific

We are moving into an exciting time as we reach not only the new year, but the year international travel opens up for the first time since the pandemic begun in 2020; and there is no better time to consider what the life of expat work will be like in 2022.

In last month’s Exclusively Expat, our Regional Manager for PNG & Asia Pacific, Fraser Hawkins shared his insider’s scoop of the Top 5 challenges being faced in the market currently by our Aussie expats. In this feature, we called on our Aussie expat readers to participate in in our expat survey, to help us paint a more specific and accurate picture of how our Aussie expats in the Pacific were affected by the pandemic and how they view the future. In this month’s edition, we share our top four findings along with Fraser‘s insight into some of findings of the motivators and concerns of expatriate work.

  1. Top concern for the future: Visas and paperwork

Since the pandemic began, Australia has been reported as having some of the world’s strictest border rules, even banning its own people from leaving and retuning; consequently, being dubbed as ‘fortress Australia’.  This could assist in explaining why our expats reported Paperwork and Visas as their top concern, even over missing family and employment opportunities. However, just this week, the Federal Government announced eligible visa holders will be allowed to travel to Australia without applying for a government exemption from 1 December 2021, meaning that our Australians working and living abroad can now feel less concerned about being trapped from their homes.

2. Top motivator: Ability to earn more

Fraser mentioned,“It isn’t just about the benefits which come with remuneration packages, but that more often than not, expats receive a higher premium for going to hardship countries such as PNG, so it was unsurprising to see that the key motivator for expat work is the ability to earn more, despite the concerns and challenges that come with it.”

“Not only do expats have cultural differences and hardship to consider, but now going into a country with a low vaccination status”, he said.

  1. Low concern for country vaccination status

Earlier this month, the Conversation reported PNG’s vaccination status of just 1.7%, causing concern for fierce resistance spreading throughout the nation.

“It was interesting to see that a large percentage of our expats weren’t concerned about this. If you happen to get sick in these types of countries the concern comes with the health care systems under pressure, and the likelihood of foreigners getting the care that is needed”.

“However, over half of our expats reported being in expat roles for more than 50% of their career and with 88% of our participants being fully vaccinated, I can see why a country’s uptake may not be concerning enough to cause a shift in their career trajectory”, Fraser said.

Speaking of career opportunities, this rated high as a concern for the future of expat work.

  1. High concern for future employment opportunities

It is known that expat packages in Multi-National Corporations are the first costs to be cut when businesses face financial constraints and it was recently reported if expatriate salary packages have a future in a post-pandemic world.

Fraser mentioned, “There is no doubt that there will continue to be corrections and cuts. However, places like PNG are going to have huge investment and growth in the coming years. Most of PNG’s labour force continues to be employed in informal labour, leaving the skills needed for key Pipeline development projects to be sourced offshore – so long as the projects are there, the skills will still be needed.”

“PNG’s economic boost is just around the corner with several major projects in the Pipeline including Papua LNG project, the Wafi-Golpu gold and copper mine, the P’nyang gas field and the Pasca A Gas condensate field”, he said.

Once commenced, these world-class resource projects will offer a range of opportunities to support construction and development of major economic infrastructure that will drive growth in PNG for the coming decades.

It was also reported in the Papua New Guinea Market Insights report 2021, that post COVID-19, there will be increasing opportunities for Australian businesses to extend their interests in PNG in the resources, infrastructure, energy and water sectors.

So, in our expert opinion, as Australian vaccination levels rise, borders open and we begin to do business in a post-pandemic world, we are excited to see the expatriate market get back to its roots and to be a player in the growth of PNG.

If you are an expat or looking for expat opportunities in a growing country like PNG, sign-up to our job alerts to ensure you don’t miss out on our available opportunities which regularly come through!

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