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Work permits offered to visiting Fijian nationals

5 July 2000 Media Statement

Work permits offered to visiting Fijian nationals

The Minister of Immigration, Lianne Dalziel, said today three-month work permits may be granted to Fiji nationals stranded in New Zealand as a result of the political situation in their home country.

"Fijians, who are either unable or unwilling to return home because of the unresolved political situation, will now be given the opportunity to find work to support their continued stay in New Zealand," she said.

Lianne Dalziel said she was responding to calls from meetings she had attended recently on the Fijian crisis.

"There are Fijians whose visas had expired or were close to expiring when the coup started. They were able to receive a two-month extension," she said. "But there are now indications that visiting Fijians and their families are experiencing some financial hardship due to the unanticipated lengthening of their stay."

"Therefore it seems appropriate that until the situation is resolved, these people should have the ability to work until they are able to return home."

The work permits will only be issued to those with a job offer. However the labour market test will be waived. This will enable those Fijians to seek up to three months casual or short-term work.

Lianne Dalziel said that it had often fallen on relatives to support these people for the extra time in New Zealand.

The work permits apply only to those Fijian nationals who are currently in New Zealand on temporary permits. About 750 Fijians have been granted extensions to their visitor and student permits in the last two months.

Lianne Dalziel said this move was "fiscally neutral" because the $90 fee for work permit applications will cover administration costs.

ENDS

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