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close this section of the library Rokoduru, Avelina

View the PDF document Contemporary migration of skilled labour from Fiji to Pacific Islands : the case of the Republic of Kiribati and Marshall Islands
Author:Rokoduru, Avelina
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.A.
Subject: Foreign workers, Fijian -- Kirbati, Foreign workers, Fijian -- Marshall Islands
Date: 2006.
Call No.: pac HD 8932 .3 .R65 2006
BRN: 1031121
Copyright:10-20% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: The movement of skilled labour from Fiji had begun in the late 1960s and has intensified after the 1987 and 2000 military and civilian coups d’é tat. Labour migration from Fiji to metropolitan countries has continued and the once Indo-Fijian dominated process is certainly changing to include large numbers of indigenous Fijians as well. According to studies, the main reasons for the accelerated out-migration include political instability, economic insecurity and general social disharmony in Fiji. An alternative trend of contemporary labour migration has emerged in recent years. A portion of Fiji’s unskilled, semiskilled and skilled local labour is emigrating to Pacific Island Countries (PICs). This research focuses on labour migrants who are moving from Fiji to other PICs, and in particular, the nurses and schoolteachers who have moved to Kiribati and the Marshall Islands. The study concludes that the pattern of migration involved here is temporary in nature and that the network theory of migration closely resembles the migration processes taking place for this study. Employment in nearby Pacific Island Countries is motivated mainly by economic reasons such as their powerful currencies, appealing work conditions and contracts and geographical proximity to Fiji, as well as social ones such as opportunities to be temporarily removed from stormy marriages and cultural obligations. There are active remittance exchanges between migrants and their communities in the home country and monetary remittances are mainly used for consumption and investment in Fiji. All the migrants are legal aliens whose human rights are mostly recognised in those countries. The other issues discussed in this work include women migrants, the migrants’ perceptions of self and the corresponding decisions they had made in relation to migration. The migrants discuss their futures in this study and it also considers the case of Fiji migrant workers in Kiribati and Marshall Islands as a minority ethnic community away from home. The thesis concludes that intra-regional labour migration from Fiji is most likely to continue if the pattern of migration remains temporary. The policy implications and their resultant recommendations discussed here are heavily dependent on the Fiji government changing its view of labour migration not as a ‘brain drain’ but as a ‘development gain’. With that approach, the national government can officially consider Fiji as a sending country and establish effective and appropriate training institutions, and design and implement awareness programs for intending labour migrants along with other stakeholders. These will ensure the safety and return of migrants to Fiji as well as facilitate the exchange of remittances, newly learnt ideas, skills and technologies that the migrants have now acquired. Other questions that arise out of this study include establishing the social and economic costs of this trend of migration and evaluating its impacts on Fiji’s health and education systems. The subject of migrant communities in Fiji such as the Banabans from Kiribati who had resettled in Rabi and other parts of Fiji need more study. Changing government policies have forced this community to return to Kiribati. The urgency for more research in these and other areas of labour migration becomes obvious as one considers the current high levels of recruitment for overseas employment taking place in Fiji and the government’s fumbling attempts to address this mass migration of brain and brawn.
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