Deputy Chief Migration Officer, Esther Gaegaming, said this during the World Refugee Day commemoration in Port Moresby.
The Melanesian people who occupy the other half of the land mass with PNG had lived illegally in the country for decades, escaping persecution from their homeland.
Gaegaming said the ceremony was held last week where 300 West Papuans, who have been granted citizenship, were chosen from the nationwide registration.
“They have been leaving with us for decades under an agreement that was not formalised.
“In 2014, Government made the decision that West Papuans will be granted legal status. That means all of them have to be registered, and issued visa, or issue citizenship if they wanted it,” she stated.
“The legal requirement for citizenship in Papua New Guinea is eight years of residency.
“Many of them have lived with us for a very long time and are well qualified for citizenship.
“We conducted a registration exercise where West Papuans were registered all throughout the country,” Gaegaming said.
(Picture by Kennedy Bani)