Emigration sparks demand for expat workers

April 18, 2024 3:09 pm

Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua

The mass migration of Fijians has triggered demand for expatriate labor across various employment fields.

With work permit applications flooding in at a rate of 500 to 800 per month, Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua states that the backlog in processing poses a severe threat to economic growth and investor confidence.

He has also made a commitment to tackle this crisis with plans to issue policy directives and streamline processes by next month.

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The Minister warns that the current backlog of two to four months and sometimes longer could derail Fiji’s economic trajectory if left unaddressed.

Tikoduadua emphasizes the role of skilled workers in sustaining economic activity, particularly in construction and acknowledges the government’s commitment to supporting capital investment.

He says measures such as simplifying permit forms and increasing staffing levels at the Department of Immigration are underway with support from the Australian government.

Despite these efforts, Tikoduadua acknowledges the immediate challenge of processing about 1,000 pending work permit applications.

The Minister says the government is working to alleviate these concerns and restore confidence among employers and investors.

Tikoduadua highlighted this in his ministerial statement in Parliament this morning.