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Work Permit in Tonga

Unemployment is very high in Tonga. It is especially hard for young people to find a job after they finish school. Therefore the government of Tonga is trying to protect its labour market by not allowing non-citizens to enter the Kingdom of Tonga in search of employment.


Should you have skills that no Tongan citizen can provide, companies or businesses registered and operating in Tonga may bring you into the country. In order to have your professional skills assessed contact the Ministry of Labour, Commerce & Industries (MLCI), Government of Tonga for further information. MLCI are responsible for the labour markets that are open for non citizens to take up employment whilst in the Kingdom.


Please note that you will have to apply for the employment visa at least one month before coming to the Kingdom of Tonga as otherwise penalty fees will be charged. The same is true if you already are working in Tonga and have a working visa and need to renew or transfer it. If you need to renew/transfer the visa you have to do it whilst your current visa is still valid, otherwise you will have to pay a penalty.



  1. Completed application form (NB: one family can share one form);
  2. 2 recent passport photographs of all applicants;
  3. Valid passport (valid for the period for which the visa is to be issued);
  4. Medical certificate, issued by a doctor specified by the Immigration Division at Vaiola Hospital (Tonga), Vava’u or Ha’apai or from overseas; Medical forms are available from the visa section, immigration division;
  5. 2 character references from persons who have known the applicant for 5 years (contact details of the referee);
  6. Police certificate (for persons over the age of 16) from the country in which the Principal applicant is ordinarily resident; Signed declaration (page 3 of the application form);
  7. The relevant fee (currently TOP$150) and any penalty fees.
  8. Any foreign documents presented must be the original and have attached an English translation. The documentation must also contain certification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for that Government or from one of its diplomatic missions verifying the document and translation).

ADDITIONAL Requirements for an employment visa. (Employment visas are issued for up to 2 years and are renewable).

  1. Offer of employment from a company in Tonga.
  2. Employment contract for all applicants, each contract must include the job specification of the non citizen applicant and a repatriation clause for conclusion/termination of the contract by either party, which places the burden of repatriation on the employer. (If not immigration may require a TOP$1,000 bond per person).
  3. Evidence of professional skills of applicants. Evidence to support these professional skills (formal academic qualifications or letters of references from former employers ON LETTERHEAD). (Letter of support from Secretary for Labour, Commerce & Industries on whether the applicants’ profession/skill is required in Tonga (labour check)).
  4. Relevant licences/registration required by any other law in Tonga relating to the specific profession, have been acquired (eg. Registration on the Board of Health for persons requiring to practice medicine in Tonga etc.)
  5. The employer’s business licence and company registration may also be required by Immigration. MLCI may also request inspection of the business/company and any information relating to the number of Tongans currently employed by the said company.
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