FIFTY-TWO asylum seekers previously detained by Australia on Manus Island are now looking for employment, having agreed to settle in Papua New Guinea.
The PNG Loop news service reports that 178 people are still to decide whether to accept resettlement.
PNG's deputy chief migration officer, Esther Gaegaming, says that, under PNG’s refugee resettlement policy, refugees have to find employment elsewhere in the country before they can leave Manus.
Under an agreement signed between PNG and Australia, asylum seekers who try to reach Australia by boat will be detained on Manus, and those found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG.
But the program has been controversial; two people have died at the detention centre in conditions that have been condemned by rights groups and the United Nations, with long delays for refugee determinations.
Those found to be refugees have been languishing at a transit centre on Manus for months while the government created the resettlement policy which was only approved in October.