Economist forecasts slower overseas migration

February 28, 2024 6:55 am

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The recent surge in overseas migration, particularly towards Australia and New Zealand, will likely slow down later this year.

According to ANZ Bank’s Australia and Pacific Economist Kishti Sen, 25,627 Fijians departed Fiji for the two countries in the past two years.

However, Sen cautions that this trend will likely shift as both nations tighten their immigration policies.

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He says a number of individuals left Fiji either to pursue educational opportunities or take up long-term employment prospects; however, this trend is expected to change.

Sen says one must also be mindful that the bulk of people who left on student visas did so to undertake vocational training, learn a skill or train up, or find an employment opportunity with the hope of eventually transitioning to a PR visa.

He says this will become slightly tougher now, adding that some will be able to transition to a PR visa if their skills are in demand, while others may not be able to do so and will be returning to Fiji upon the expiration of their visas.

“Having received a record number of overseas migrants last year, both Australia and New Zealand are tightening their migration policies. And this means their migrant intake from major source markets, including Fiji, will reduce in 2024.”

Sen suggests a potential decrease in departures could alleviate the strain on Fiji’s shrinking skilled labour pool.

“And that will be welcome news for employers, as that will help them to continue to service demand and meet future growth in demand.”

Sen says they believe that Fiji’s population will start growing again next year.