Business sector hears of immigration changes

THE Department of Immigration has been very flexible in allowing businesses and companies to facilitate requests from them on extending work permits/visa for their expatriates in the past.

However director immigration Nemani Vuniwaqa said this trend had changed as the new laws on work permits and visa requirements came into effect on January 16 this year.

Mr Vuniwaqa made the comments at a briefing session organised for members of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation headquarters in Suva yesterday.

He said over the years the department had facilitated and processed requests from businesses and companies who brought foreign workers to work in Fiji usually applied for the work permit and then applied for extensions to those permits whenever they saw it necessary.

He said there had been instances over the past where expatriates would come in for a 14-day visit and companies would extend their stay by applying for extensions which the department accommodated.

He said with the changes that came into effect in January this year businesses would not have the liberty to apply for extensions of the visitor’s permits for those foreign workers.

The Immigration Department has also improved its work permit/visa processing time to three working days.

He said with the available manpower the department was doing its best to process and approve the applications in due time.

Meanwhile concerns were also raised by some FCEF members on the work permit/visa requirements for foreign workers which acted as a deterrent to their recruitment process.