- Demand mainly in construction sector
- Bangladesh expects to send minimum 1,000 workers each year
- Salary to range from Tk40,000 to Tk45,000
- Around 3,500 Bangladeshis are currently working in Fiji
- Majority of them work in garment factories, restaurants, hospitals, construction sector and agriculture
Fiji wants to hire more workers from Bangladesh, mainly in the construction sector,as the pacific island country is suffering from a shortage of labour to cope with the post-Covid development activities.
"Our construction companies have been making applications to bring in workers from Bangladesh as there is a major shortage of skilled manpower in this sector," said Fiji's Attorney General and Minister for Economy AiyazSayed-Khaiyum during the recent joint forum of Australia-Fiji Business Councils.
The attorney general said there is a huge shortage of workers in fields such as brick and tile layers, reported Fijivillage on 5 September.
According to an unofficial estimate, around 3,500 Bangladeshis live in different cities and the countryside of Fiji. A majority of them work in garment factories, restaurants, hospitals, the construction sector, agriculture and other service sectors.
At present, Bangladesh does not have an embassy in Fiji. Bangladesh's High Commission in Australia looks after the well-being of workers in Fiji.
"The demand for workers has increased in Fiji. People are coming here legally through private agencies with the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) cards from Bangladesh," MdSalahuddin, counsellor (labour) and the first secretary of the Bangladesh embassy in Australia, told TBS.
"We expect to employ 1,000 people in Fiji each year with salaries ranging from Tk40,000 to Tk45,000," he added.
Apart from recruitment through private agencies, Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited under the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment issued a job circular on 7 September to employ six male employees in Fiji for various posts including A/C technician, financial controller and construction foreman.
The population of Fiji is 0.9 million, with a $5,589 per capita GDP, according to World Bank data in 2017.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism used to be Fiji's main revenue source, contributing about 38% of the country's GDP, according to the International Finance Corporation.
The sector supports 1,18,000 jobs and channels spending into local supply chains including agriculture, building and construction, cultural industries, and more.
However, the textiles and apparel industry has been identified as a potential sector for Bangladeshi businesses to invest in Fiji, according to the Bangladesh High Commission in Australia.
Other potential sectors include pharmaceutical, information and communication technology.
The export volume from Bangladesh to Fiji was $2.64 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The major export items are apparel and knit, pharmaceutical products, carpets and other textile floor covering, footwear, ceramic products, articles of iron and steel, toys and games etc.
Fiji commends Bangladesh nationals
The Fiji government has commended the efforts of Bangladesh nationals who have contributed to the recovery of the Fijian economy, reports FBC News based in Fiji.
While speaking during the establishment of the Bangladesh Fiji Association committee recently, Defence Minister of Fiji IniaBatikotoSeruiratu urged Bangladeshi workers to avoid giving their travel documents to their employers in Fiji.
While speaking with some of the Bangladeshi nationals, he found out that their passports were taken by their employers as soon as they arrived in the country.
"If such incidents are happening, please do let the authorities know because we want you to enjoy Fiji. You are contributing a lot," he added.
Mohammad Sufiur Rahman, high commissioner for Bangladesh to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, urged all Bangladeshis working in Fiji to have the proper and relevant documentation.