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Publication Sheds Light On Impacts Of Fiji’s Migration

14 December 2011

A new research publication focusing on the economic and social impacts of migration in Fiji was launched at the University of the South Pacific in Suva on 12 December, 2011.

The 62-page report was jointly launched by USP’s Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) and the Oceania Development Network (ODN). It is one of the main outputs of the global research project, Development on the Move, which is aimed at comprehensively assessing how migration affects development in a number of different countries around the world. These countries were Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, Jamaica, Macedonia and Vietnam.

As the first nationally representative dataset on migration and development in Fiji, the publication uses econometric methodologies to assess some of the economic and social impacts that migration is having on individuals and households in the country.

The book was authored by a team of USP academics that included Dr Manoranjan Mohanty, Mr Tolu Muliaina, Mr Ronald Kumar, Dr Sunil Kumar and Professor Vijay Naidu. The team was led by Dr Miliakere Kaitani from the School of Government, Development and International Affairs.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Kaitani thanked AusAID and Global Development Network - ODN’s parent body, for their support and funding as well as the editorial team for their outstanding efforts towards the production of the report.

The initiation of the project started at the end of 2007 and a proposal was put together and submitted to GDN. Dr Kaitani described her involvement with the project as a learning experience.

85 students were trained as research assistants to take part in six weeks of fieldwork nationwide, whereby data was collected from 9126 households and screened, and 1381 households were selected, she said.
A major finding of the report shows that more than 59 percent of the household migrants were skilled migrants.

“In recent years, Fiji has been witnessing a significant outflow of skilled and professional people. It is clear that we are having a brain drain. Remittances from short-term and long-term migrants helped significantly in the alleviation of poverty”, she added.

In order to improve the development impacts of migration in Fiji, the report argues that the terms and conditions of employment as well as issues of political stability and personal security need to be addressed in order to encourage more return migration and brain circulation or gain. The report titled, ‘Development on the Move - Measuring and Optimizing Migration’s Economic and Social Impacts in Fiji’ was launched by the Acting Australian High Commissioner, Ms Judith Robinson.

While expressing support for the publication, Ms Robinson said that the Australian Government has a great interest and commitment towards research at the University. Commenting on the importance of the report, she said that the migration issues highlighted by the report are something that Pacific nations, including Fiji struggle to deal with. “The publication has come up with some very useful findings on the nature and economic impacts of migration from Fiji and goes further by suggesting at a number of practical recommendations on how policy makers can maximise the benefits of migration,” she stated.

She hopes that the publication will be part of a number of studies around the world where Fiji can provide some light on the Pacific component of migration.
The report provides useful statistical accounts and patterns of migration with equally useful data on socio demographic characteristics of migrants, countries of destination, and education levels of migrants, types of employment and their reasons for migration. It also gives data on remittances and how it is used in Fiji.

ENDS

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