Prasad highlights review of immigration system

July 6, 2024 12:43 pm

[Source: Fiji Immigration Department]

Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad stresses that as a government, they are determined to sort out the country’s immigration system.

Speaking at the Nadi Chamber of Commerce post-budget consultation, Prasad says a research group is looking at ways to quickly carry out reforms in the immigration department.

He says this is being done because many employers are facing difficulties in obtaining work permits and hiring employees from overseas.

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Prasad adds that the research team has already made some progress.

“In fact, we had backlogs from 2019, 2020, 2032, and we still have backlogs. The timeline for processing some of those work permits is still very, very long. And employers, investors, we understand, cannot wait. So we are working on it.”

The Finance Minister emphasizes that the government’s longer-term strategy is for Fiji to become an upper-middle-income country.

He adds that Fiji will lose more skilled people in the next five to ten years.

“And if you look at the birth rate, if you look at the migration rate, and if you put all that together, we could be actually depopulating and having a net loss of our skilled workers. But there is still a lot of scope to train a lot more people locally into skills. But we also have to look at, as a government, as a country, in the long term, we need to look at our migration skills.”

Prasad also states that the country needs to address fundamental push factors, including health, education, and other opportunities.

He further emphasizes the importance of opening up Fiji’s migration scheme to include skills-based immigration.