Most foreigners living in Fiji don’t move to the island nation for career opportunities, but rather to retire. Still, more and more expats are beginning to see the potential that lies in the burgeoning Pacific economy. Thanks to the availability of an investment permit, it's fairly easy for expats to set up their own businesses, assuming they have the means to do so. For expats on the job hunt, however, it remains difficult to acquire the necessary work permit to take up employment in Fiji.
Job market in Fiji
Agriculture and tourism are the archipelago's strongest industries. However, both are vulnerable to disruption by Fiji's cyclones which can hamper growth somewhat. In addition, the tourism sector has suffered in the past due to the country's unstable political situation. Still, Fiji's economy continues to grow and has the distinction of being one of the most developed Pacific Island economies.
Fiji is rich with forest, mineral and fish resources. Though agriculture accounts for less than 20 percent of the country's GDP, the industry employs 70 percent of the Fijian workforce. Coconut, ginger and sugar are the main cash crops in Fiji.
Naturally, as Fiji is a popular tourist destination, tourism and hospitality are important industries and employ large numbers of people. Many expats are capitalising on the growth in tourism to set up guest houses, restaurants and other businesses targeted at holidaymakers.
Finding a job in Fiji
It is very difficult to find a job from within the country, so expats should start the process as soon as possible prior to relocating. Recruitment agencies can help with the search, otherwise there are online job portals that advertise the various opportunities available.
Work culture in Fiji
Fijians are friendly, hospitable people and often go the extra mile to make expats feel welcome, including in the workplace. Reverence towards elder associates and managers is expected, and a hierarchical system is generally the norm in Fiji. Punctuality is not as strictly observed as some expats may be used to, since ‘Pacific time’ means people are often late for scheduled events. Expats should still make sure they arrive in time though, and they will need to be tolerant and patient as time management is more flexible in Fiji than it is in the West.
►Are you a budding entrepreneur moving to Fiji? Doing Business in Fiji is essential reading
"Work permits take a long time to process and require lots of patience and follow ups. I was lucky to be supported by the agency that recruited me in this process.
There are two main ways people get jobs here: they are recruited before they arrive or they set up their own business. It's very hard to find a job as an expat after arriving."
Read more about Australian expat Emma's experiences in Suva, Fiji.
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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