Expats may find that doing business in Fiji is not a straightforward process, but is rather bureaucratic. Businesspeople who can successfully navigate the country's red tape will find working with Fijians quite pleasant. Business dealings are mostly casual and friendly (yet respectful).
9am to 5pm, from Monday to Friday.
Casual. Expats should wear suits and ties only on formal occasions, which rarely happen.
A formal handshake is the best way to greet business associates in Fiji. Always show respect towards elders in a business environment.
Gifts are expected and appreciated.
The business environment in Fiji is still quite patriarchal.
Business culture in Fiji
Expats doing business in Fiji will initially experience culture shock. The sooner expats adjust to the changes, the easier assimilation will be. Fijians are friendly, hospitable people and tend to go the extra mile to make expats feel welcome. Colleagues will typically invite one another for dinner at their home, and it's expected of people to accept the offer and bring a gift – the hosts will certainly appreciate it.
New arrivals are often surprised to learn that punctuality at business meetings in Fiji is not as strict as one may expect. Expats should still arrive on time and be tolerant and patient.
Senior Fijian associates may not be as opinionated as in Western business circles. Expats should not interpret this as disengagement, but rather be aware that they are observing and analysing before making a decision. Elderly senior colleagues are also generally revered.
Expats doing business in Fiji are likely to encounter the country's national drink, kava. Though non-alcoholic, this plant-based drink has a mildly narcotic effect. It's often present in business dealings in Fiji, whether as a gift at an introductory meeting or as a celebration after concluding a successful business deal.
Dos and don’ts of business in Fiji
Do show respect to senior colleagues and elders
Do be punctual even if business associates are not
Don't show up to a business meeting in a full suit. It's best to wear a light short-sleeved shirt
Do spend time socialising with business associates
►To make sure the necessary paperwork is in order, see Visas for Fiji
"I recommend that expats be patient in the workplace. Things won't move as fast as you're used to but your work and input will be certainly appreciated."
Read our interview with Australian expat Emma to learn about life in Fiji's capital city, Suva.
Are you an expat living in Fiji?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Fiji. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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