Any company or person who wishes to send Fijian workers for overseas employment must first register with the Employment Ministry and obtain necessary approval from the Permanent Secretary for Employment before conducting any business of registering, recruiting and deployment of workers for overseas employment.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate while responding to an article in the Fiji Sun dated 20 August, 2018 on “Woman Faces Human Trafficking Charges”.
Usamate highlighted that the Ministry is closely working with the Fiji Police Force, Fiji Immigration Department and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that any case of illegal recruitment of Fijian workers for overseas employment will be dealt with within the ambit of the relevant laws.
“The Ministry is also currently working on one other case of a similar nature with the Fiji Police Force.”
He also warned Travel Agents not to send workers for overseas employment without obtaining authorization from the Ministry.
“The ultimate aim of the Ministry under the Employment Relations Act (ERA) 2007 is to ensure that our people are not exploited in respect to their terms and conditions of employment under their foreign contracts of service, and to also prevent human trafficking or other unlawful forms of labour exploitation by unscrupulous operators.”
The Ministry currently has only two registered Employment Agencies authorized to recruit and send Fijian workers for overseas employment and these are Free Bird institute Limited of Nadi and Alpha Pacific Navigation Limited of Lautoka.
Any person who operates an Employment Agency without Authorization shall be guilty of an offence and is liable for conviction to a fine of not less than $4,000 and not more than $10,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or both.
The Minister urged members of public to contact the nearest Ministry of Employment Office to ensure that they are given right advice on overseas employment issues and also register with the National Employment Centre for overseas employment opportunities.