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Expat guide to Fiji, living, working, schooling & more

Expat guide to Fiji, living, working, schooling & more

Living in Fiji

As the heart of the South Pacific, Fiji is blessed with 333 tropical islands that are home to happiness. It’s famous for its soft coral diving, white sand beaches and pristine natural environment and is a leader in eco-tourism. It’s surely a beach lover’s vision of nirvana!  And while history shows ethnic and economic tensions occurring in Fiji, the country is entirely safe for visitors and expats. 

Fiji

Expat Clubs


Fiji Expats
A social media group aimed at all expats living in Fiji.
www.facebook.com/groups/fijiexpats

Yoga in Fiji
Based in Daku Resort, Savusavu, expats can join the yoga classes which offer beautiful views over the bay, a menu of local foods and activities to do off the mat.
www.yogainfiji.com

Fiji Rucksack Club
The Rucksack Club is a great way to get to out-of-the-way places, experience interesting and educational adventures and connect with like-minded people.
www.facebook.com/FijiRucksackClub

Suva Expats
An expat community and society that is situated in Suva.
www.facebook.com/suva.expats

Fiji Surfing Association
With a motto of “we are Fiji’s surfing voice”, the Fiji Surfing Association aim to bring the sport of surfing to the people of Fiji. They are the sole national governing body in all matters relating to surging, and access to surfing beaches.
www.facebook.com/fijisurfingassociation

Photographers of Fiji
If you have an interest in capturing all things with a camera, here you can join a photography community and showcase your best images.
www.facebook.com/groups/fijiphotographers

International Schools 


While there are over 700 primary schools and 150 secondary schools spread across the public and private sectors in Fiji, most expats choose to send their children to a private school. While public schools in Fiji are open to expats, the curriculum and educational standards can often be erratic. Thus the majority of expats send their kids to the international schools located in either Suva or Nadi.

International School Suva
An independent co-educational day school offering pre-school, primary and secondary education.
Address: Lot 59, Siga Road, Laucala Beach, Suva, Fiji
Tel: +679 3393 300
Email: principal@international.school.fj
Website: www.international.school.fj

International School Nadi
Provides quality education, with high academic standards, and an international focus and is the only school in Fiji that offers the three International Baccalaureate programs: Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma.
Address: Nadi Back Road, P.O.Box 9686, Nadi Airport, Nadi, Fiji
Tel: +679 670 2960
Email: isn@connect.com.fj
Website: www.isn.school.fj

Yat Sen Secondary School
Opened in 1936, this is the Fiji Chinese School that caters to Fiji’s Chinese community. It consists of both a primary and secondary school.
Address: Laucala Bay Road
Tel: +679 331 3131
Email: yatsen@connect.com.fj
Website: www.yatsen.school.fj

Local News in English


The Fiji Times Online
www.fijitimes.com

Fiji Live
www.fijilive.com

Country Information 


Full name: Republic of the Fiji Islands
Population: cc. 900,000+
Location: Pacific
Capital City: Suva
Other Important Cities: Nadi
Currency: 1 Fijian Dollar = 100 cents
Language: Fijian, English, Hindi
Religion(s): The country is a multi-cultural nation with a number of religions, which include a Wesleyan persuasion – a branch of the Methodist Church – Roman Catholicism, various protestant denominations, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism.
Calling Code: +679
Internet TLD: .fj

Electricity: 240V 50Hz
Time zone: GMT +12. Fiji has it’s own Daylight Savings Time, which begins in October and ends in January.
Emergency Numbers: Police: 917 | Fire and Ambulance: 911

Fiji is commonly known as the cross-roads of the Pacific. But while it may be relatively small in size, there is so much to see and do and make the most of while being an expat.  Plus – there are so many different islands to choose from! So it’s vital you chose the island that is best suited for you. Viti Levu is considered the mainland with its varying landscapes and amenities, and is perhaps one of a few places in Fiji that will allow you to closely simulate a recognisable Western lifestyle.

While living in Fiji, you must always be aware of the fact that you live in the tropics. The high temperatures and humidity will render winter clothing useless. So make sure you’re (mentally) ready for heat, heat, heat!
One of the perks of being an expat in Fiji, is making the most of what is known as “the coconut grapevine”, meaning, you can obtain goods and services by making connections with local Fijians and expats living on the islands. Making such connections will enable new residents to take advantage of tried and tested tips and advice. 

Embassy Information


embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/fiji

Residents Visa and Work Permit information


Expats moving to Fiji should be aware that it can be quite difficult to gain a work permit, and individuals considering moving to the country should ensure that the have the correct important documentation before you arrive in Fiji. It is essential that as an expat, you research and decide which permit is applicable most to your situation and apply accordingly, as changing the type of visa once obtained is difficult.

In terms of work permits, there are two types: one for individuals seeking to set up a business in Fiji, and investing money into the local economy, and one for those taking up employment in a position that could not be adequately filled by a Fijian citizen.

Remember: work permits are not granted for anyone who arrives in Fiji on a tourist visa. You must apply and have your work permit granted before your arrival.

To obtain a work permit you require the following:
·         Completed work permit application form
·         Passport sized photos
·         Passport with 6 months validity, and photocopy
·         Current bank statement
·         Proof of confirmation of travel health insurance policy
·         Letter of appointment from employer
·         Copy of employment contract
·         If possible, clipping of advertisement for position
·         Police clearance reports from any country where applicant has resided for a year or more in the past 10 years
·         Medical reports which are less than 3 months old (including for family members, if moving with applicant)
·         A certificate proving adequate knowledge of English Language which is deemed acceptable by the Director of Immigration
·         Return or onward ticket
·         Visa fees

Residence permits are granted to individuals who wish to settle down in the country, but have no intention of working or setting up a business. These are primarily for retirees.

To be eligible for a residence permit, you must meet the following criteria:
·         The principal applicants must be at least 60 years of age
·         All applicants and dependents must have health insurance
·         Principal applicant must have purchased property in Fiji, or
·         Have the equivalent of FJD 100,000 in their bank
·         Expats must deposit an additional FJD 30,000 into a Fijian bank account for a family of two, or FJD 40,000 for a family of five each year

Accommodation


Expat accommodation in the main cities of Suva and Nadi is relatively expensive, especially for accommodation of Australian or Western standard. And due to the limited housing stock, it can take time for new expats to find suitable accommodation.

Care, attention and planning should be taken to make sure the potential house has suitable security arrangements, a back-up power generator and air conditioning. Power outages are not uncommon, particularly after tropical storms and a cyclone. Because of the type of weather Fiji experiences, houses need to be able to withstand tropical storms, which lash the islands over the summer months.
It is not necessary to have a residence visa to rent property in Fiji, but as noted, expats should be weary of the lengthy waiting lists for accommodation. 

Driving License


In Fiji, driving is on the left hand side of the road, with a maximum speed limit of 80 km/h, and 50 km/h in residential areas.

Driving can be a great and easy way to explore Fiji, but drivers must be cautious of some dangers. Although sealed roads across the islands are usually well-constructed, potholes are a possibility, as well as speed bumps near villages which are larger than they appear. Plus, villagers may have a habit of wandering dangerously close to moving vehicles or sit in groups near highways. Fijian residents who are learning receive little driving education, so may often appear to be driving erratically or inappropriately to expats. Tailgating and overtaking on bends are common habits. And while you’re keeping an eye on other drivers, don’t forget to be mindful of animals such as cattle, goats and horses that feed on the edges of highways and may wander across.

In terms of renting a car, Fiji recognizes driving licenses from English-speaking countries – individuals from other countries require an International Driving Permit. There are a number of rental agencies that have appeared on the islands over the years, and rental desks can be found in every major hotel. 

Healthcare


The Fiji healthcare system is comprised of both public and private healthcare facilities. The Ministry of Health in Fiji has the role of monitoring and maintaining the healthcare system, and the funding of healthcare facilities.
Private facilities exist in Fiji, primarily catering for foreign nationals. Whereas the Fiji’s public healthcare sector is heavily dependent on general taxation.

The healthcare system in Fiji is relatively well developed in comparison to its Pacific Island neighbours. However, in regards of long-term medical conditions and acute health issues, the country’s facilities are inadequate to meet the medical needs of such patients.

Services are delivered through 900 village clinics, 124 nursing stations, three hospitals, 76 health centres, 29 sub-divisional medical centres and 3 divisional hospitals, and a private hospital in Suva.
In the event of a medical emergency, a patient is likely to need a medical evacuation to Australia, New Zealand or Hawaii, where there are excellent medical centers.
All expats should ensure they have adequate international health insurance for Fiji, which covers the policyholder for air ambulance services.
 
Insurance Companies Hospitals

Suva Private Hospital
Suva | www.sph.com.fj | +679 3303 404

Nadi Hospital
Nadi | +679 922 0595

Savusavu Hospital
Savusavu, Vanua Levu | +679 850 444

Levuka Hospital
Levuka, Kadavu
 
Doctors
Dr. Alvin De Asa
General Practice
Nasese Medical Center, 62 Ratu Sukuna Road, Nasese, Suva
Tel: +679 331 4450

Dr. V Guy Hawley
Ophthalmology
Hawley Eye Center, Queensland Arcade, Suva
Tel: +679 330 0433
 
Dr. Salanieta Saketa
General Practice
Government Buildings, Box 2223, Suva
Tel: +679 3306 177

Dr. Nalini Sharma
Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Dr. Neil Sharma and Associates, 10 Bakash Street, Suva
Tel: +679 338 7181

 


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