Facts and Figures
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The Republic of Fiji Islands is a large Melanesian archipelago made up of an estimated 332 islands with diverse landscapes and climate in the southwest Pacific Ocean. A large proportion of Fiji’s approximately 912,000 people live on the largest island of Viti Levu, where the capital Suva is located. The main spoken languages are Fijian, Fiji Hindi and English.

Fiji has one of the largest economies among Pacific Island Countries and is one of the least dependent on foreign aid. Fiji achieved half of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is committed to the 2030 global sustainable development agenda. As a regional hub in the Pacific, Fiji is considered an origin, transit and destination country in the context of international migration.

Fiji has previously experienced mass migration of its population due to political upheaval and continues to have a significant rate of out-migration. Fiji has recently become a source of skilled temporary migrants in response to specific opportunities abroad, especially in other Pacific countries and in the Middle East.

Fiji is also a popular destination country for migrants, with nationals of 132 countries allowed to enter the country without a visa, and many others coming to the country for employment or education.

Fiji is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Fiji endorsed a National Action Plan against Trafficking in Persons in 2010, raising Fiji to Tier 2 ranking by the US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Unfortunately, Fiji has since been downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.

Climate change, including sea level rise and more extreme weather events, is already having consequences for some urban centers, agriculture and coastal development in Fiji, which in turn is causing people and communities to migrate. In February 2016, Fiji was devastated by Tropical Cyclone Winston, the most intense tropical cyclone in the Southern Hemisphere on record. Winston inflicted extensive damage on many islands and killed 44 people. Some communities moved internally and created informal settlements after their homes were destroyed, and some of these remain in place today. In 2019, the Fiji’s then Minister for Climate Change, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, indicated in his address at the UN Security Council that 43 coastal communities in Fiji may soon need to be relocated, following 3 communities that have already been relocated.

IOM in Fiji

Fiji became an IOM member state in 2013, and IOM and the Government of Fiji signed a Cooperation Agreement in 2015. IOM established an office in Suva, Fiji in 2017 to work with the Government of Fiji and governments of nearby Pacific Island countries on issues relating to migration, including on the thematic areas of migration and climate change, labour migration and human mobility, migration and development, counter-trafficking and migrant protection, and emergency preparedness and response.

Current projects supported by IOM Fiji

IOM activities in Fiji and the Pacific Region are guided by the IOM Pacific Strategy 2017‑2020 and contributes to the implementation of United Nations Pacific Strategy (UNPS) 2018-2022, available here: https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/iom_pacific_strategy.pdf.

IOM Fiji’s donors include IOM Development Fund, UN Trust Fund for Human Security, Regional Support Office of the Bali Process, and the United States Government.

Migration Profile in Fiji: Building the Capacity for Evidence-Based Policy

IOM is working with the Government of Fiji to develop Fiji’s first Migration Profile, a comprehensive policy‑making tool aimed at strengthening evidence-based migration policy. The project includes the development of a data collection and reporting toolkit for use by policymakers and building policymakers’ skills and practices in correctly interpreting and applying available migration evidence.

Pacific Adaptation through Labour Mobility in the Low-lying Atoll States of Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu

This project seeks to ensure migrants and communities benefit from migration as a sustainable development and climate change adaptation strategy. Migrants and communities in the Pacific are vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. The project covers the three Pacific Island countries of Republic of Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu and will support the implementation of national labour policies and plans.

Enhancing protection and empowerment of migrants and communities affected by climate change and disasters in the Pacific region

This project is aligned with global, regional and national policy frameworks that call for an integrated approach to address climate change and disaster related-migration, displacement and planned relocation as it aims to protect and empower communities adversely affected by climate change and disasters in the Pacific region. The main areas include a regional human security‑based response to climate change and disaster related-migration, displacement and planned relocation, safe labour migration and a contribution to evidence-based best practices. The project covers the 5 Pacific Island countries of Fiji, Vanuatu, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati.

Building Immigration Border Management Capacity through the Establishment of a Pool of Trainers in the Pacific Member States

In cooperation and partnership with PIDC (Pacific Immigration Development Community), this project focuses on developing the capacity of frontline border officials of 10 Pacific Island countries, members of PIDC. The project has piloted training of trainers on Immigration and Border Management in the Pacific.

Capacity Building for Migration and Sustainable Development in Tonga

IOM, in close partnership and collaboration with the Government of Tonga, is implementing this project to contribute to well-managed migration in Tonga. The project focuses on evidence-based migration and sustainable development policy for the country. Tonga is defined as a high mobility country by the World Bank, with emigrants accounting for approximately 50 per cent of the population. Alongside Samoa, Tonga is one of the two countries in the Pacific most dependent on remittances, which account for approximately 50 per cent of GDP.

Engaging with Diaspora for Fiji’s Development Project

There are many Fijian diaspora groups living around the world, with notable populations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.  These diaspora groups have developed lively communities and established various channels of communication among them. They also send home remittances to relatives and friends in Fiji, with the total averaging around 4.8 per cent of Fiji’s national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2012 and 2015 . 

The Engaging with Diaspora for Fiji’s Development project aims to support the Government of Fiji to engage more closely and strategically with Fijian diaspora groups in Australia as part of its efforts to contribute to national development and further to Fiji’s commitment  to  achieving  the  Sustainable  Development  Goals  (SDGs),  particularly  SDG  10  on  reduced inequalities, contributions also link to SDG 11 and SDG 17. The project will also contribute to Strategic Priority 1 of the IOM Pacific Strategy 2017-2020 .

Working in partnership with the Government of Fiji and Fiji High Commission in Australia, the project will deliver three key outputs to achieve the project outcome. Firstly, A diaspora mapping survey will be undertaken in Australia which will look at the size, composition, attitudes, educational attainments, professional interest and needs of diaspora communities. Secondly, the project will develop and provide recommendations on strategic engagement and   partnerships   with   Fijian   diaspora   communities. This will improve links with the Fijian diaspora groups, improving their ability to develop networks, build trust, transfer skills and identify investment opportunities in Fiji. The third output is for the Government of Fiji to convene a diaspora engagement meeting in Suva, with stakeholders from the Australia, New Zealand High Commission in Fiji, and Canada High Commission based in Australia, strengthening the partnership between the Government of Fiji and the diaspora groups.

Contact Information

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Mailing Address
GPO Box 14765 Suva Fiji

Email: iomfiji@iom.int
Tel: +679 3310730