The Fiji Times » Foreigners applying for a work permit in Fiji

The Immigration Department receives over 1,000 permit applications every month, and most of them are for foreigners wishing to work in the local tourism industry.

Immigration Director Amelia Komaisavai said this during a panel discussion at the Fiji Hospitality and Tourism Association’s Talanoa Tourism Symposium in Denarau, Nadi, yesterday. She said the ministry was actually prioritizing this sector, to address the labor shortages it was currently facing.

She said permit applicants have come from people who have applied for jobs from chefs – all the way to working in the housekeeping department.

“Everyone must have noticed the exponential growth in air travel and passenger traffic, and yet, correlates with the labor shortages that are happening here and in this particular industry,” Ms. Komaisavai said.

“We are experiencing this in terms of the high volume of work permits that are coming. ” This is unheard of.

“We get over 1,000 permits every month and that hasn’t happened since the border opened in December…so it’s permits in terms of every month, like 70-80% of those are actually work permits.”

Ms Komaisavai said the department continues to improve its internal systems and processes to “respond to this large influx that is happening and most of which is from the tourism industry”.

Few months ago, Fiji time reported that tourism operators were concerned about the large number of qualified chefs leaving Fiji to work overseas.

Hoteliers have said that if nothing is done to curb the exodus, the problem could harm the industry and the country.

At a press conference last month, Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Fijian chefs with at least three years’ experience would have the opportunity to earn salaries abroad from around the world. from A$80,000 (F$121,759) to A$120,000 (F$182,638).

Speaking at a consultation on Australia’s Pacific Labor Mobility Scheme last week, Employment Minister Parveen Kumar said that while the financial and economic rewards were good, the Fijian government was “understandably concerned” about the social impact of labor mobility schemes.

He said there had been a backlash from local employers as workers left the company on short notice.

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