1. Our History
The Department of Immigration [DOI] is under the Office of the Prime Minister, Sugar Industry & Immigration. It is responsible for providing an efficient and effective immigration service through the administration and enforcement of the Immigration, Passport and Citizenship Acts.
The DOI was established in the 1800’s and has since been responsible for regulating the movement of migrants. Initially the focus of the DOI’s work was on the regulation of emigrants employed to work as labourers in the sugar cane plantations. The DOI was located within the Police department until 1969 when it was civilianized and transferred to the Ministry of Labour and Industrial Relations, then to the Ministry of Home Affairs in the late 1980’s where it remains today but with a renamed Ministry of Defence.
In October 1985, the DOI commissioned an on-line Immigration computerized system that provided data entry for arriving and departing passengers and that would provide a systematic reporting facility for the maintenance of a comprehensive “Watchlist” for national security and to provide statistics for the Bureau of Statistics.
In 2000, in an effort to ensure an effective and pro-active Immigration service, the DOI in consultation with an Australian Law Firm, Minter Ellison and the Solicitor Generals office proceed to review the Immigration Act to ensure that the new Act encompassed all aspects of Immigration work. The revised Immigration legislation was enacted by parliament in October 2003 which is now known as the Fiji Immigration Act 2003.
In July 2005 with the introduction of the referral system, the Immigration Primary Line border control function was hived off to FIRCA [Customs} together with 42 of our staff. We now have a reduced establishment of 90 from the initial 132.
2. Our Geography
The Fiji Islands are in the south-west Pacific Ocean, south of the equator and north of the tropic of Capricorn. Australia lies 3160 km to the southwest, and New Zealand 2120 to the south. Nearby Pacific islands include Tonga, 770 km to the east and Vanuatu 1,100kn to the west.
Fiji’s territorial limits cover an area of over 1.3 million square km, but less than 1.5% of this is dry land with a total land area of approximately 18,300 square km. The Fiji archipelago comprises some 330 islands of which only one-third are inhabited. The terrain consists mostly of mountains of volcanic origin with a coastline of 1,129km. The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Naval Division is responsible for maritime surveillance and represents border control agencies at sea.
There are two international airports, the major one at Nadi, and a smaller airport at Nausori (Suva). There are five authorized ports of entry for shipping: Lautoka, Suva, Levuka, Rotuma and Savusavu. Other locations such as the DenarauMarina, have also become de-facto ports of entry with immigration primary line officers providing the required services on site, where costs are covered, rather than at the designated points of entry. This service is also arranged for some cruise liners not wishing to call at authorized ports of entry.
3. Our Divisions
Director of Immigration - Nemani Vuniwaqa
Acting Assistant Director Immigration - Litia Saumaka
The Department has six divisions, with the Acting Assistant Director Immigration reporting to the Director of Immigration. Managers from Compliance & Invistigation, Passport & Citizenship, Permits & Visa, Border Control, Research Development, Corporate Services report to the Acting Assistant Director Immigration.
3.1 Compliance and Investigation
Manager Compliance & Investigation - Talei Yabakivou
The Compliance and Investigation section of Fiji Immigration has responsibility for the location, apprehension and removal from Fiji of persons who have breached conditions of their entry and further stay or who may otherwise be of health, character or security concern to the Fiji community. Persons of interest include those who overstay their permitted stay period in Fiji, who undertake unauthorized employment, person with criminal records or criminal affiliation and those who have entered or remain in the country by resorting to forged or false documents or by contrived arrangements.
The section is responsible for the Departments response to allegations or suspicions of organized immigration-relate malpractice such as document fraud, people smuggling and trafficking and identity fraud, organization of illegal worker activity and any other activities that support circumvention of Immigration law or policy. It is also expected to perform an intelligence function that gathers, collates and analyses information about persons, places, objects and activities that they may have relevance in the context of immigration malpractice.
3.2 Passport & Citizenship
Manager Passports & Citizenship - Laisani Colamotokarua
The Passport section id responsible for the processing and issuance of passports to all bonafide Fiji citizens who aspire to acquire Fiji passports. The Citizenship section is responsible for the processing and granting of Fiji citizenship to eligible persons who have completely satisfied all pre-requisites and statutory requirements needed in becoming a citizen of Fiji.
3.3 Permits & Visa
Acting Manager Permits & Visa - Ravinesh Nair
The Division is responsible for the processing and issuance of all types of permits and pre-entry visa as stipulated under the Act.
3.4 Border Control
Acting Manager West - Deepak Karan
Senior Immigration Officer Border Control - Taraivini Savou
The Border Control Division of the Department is primary responsible in protecting and controlling the sovereignty of the Republic of the Fiji Islands borders through the effective and efficient clearance of aircrafts , ships and yachts at Fiji’s designated ports of entry. Border Control plays a major role in securing our borders and ensures the orderly facilitation of entry and exit of legitimate travelers and the prevention of unauthorized or illegal immigrant at all our ports in accordance with the Fiji Immigration Act 2003.
The division is also entrusted with other border control related functions which can be classified as secondary line functions such as:
- The processing and issuance of EXEMPTION STATUS to eligible persons either to reside and/or work
- The processing and approval of all applications for extension of visitors’ visa of national from visa exempted countries.
- The processing and uplifting of PROHIBITED IMMIGRANT NOTICES and;
- The processing and issuing of authority for the arrival of people into the country from visa exempted countries to join shipping vessels/yachts in the country.
There are five authorized ports of entry for shipping: Lautoka, Suva, Levuka, Savusavu and the most recent is on the Island of Rotuma. Other places such as the DenarauMarina, have also become de-facto ports of entry with the relevant border control agencies providing the required services on site at the expense of the shipping company/agent. There are two international airports, the major one at Nadi and Nausori (Suva).
The Border Control in the Republic of the Fiji Islands is basically divided into two (2), the Western Division includes the Nadi and Lautoka office and the South Eastern Division which includes Suva, Nausori Airport, Levuka, Savusavu, and Rotuma as the most recently declared port of entry for Fiji. These divisions are headed by Managers, the Manager West and Manager Control respectively.
The RFMF Naval division is responsible for maritime surveillance and represents the border control agencies at sea.
3.5 Research & Development
Senior Immigration Officer Research & Development - Paula Cavasiga
The primary role of the R&D unit is to improve efficiency and the effective delivery of immigration services in the department through the provision of up-to-date and analytical managerial information for planning and policy formulation.
Operating as the departments information repository and dissemination and technology management function, the section focuses on enhancing the expansion of service delivery namely, development of databases for relevant information, processing of immigration appeal cases, review of immigration policies and legislations, focal points for refugees status determination, GFMD, Trafficking in Persons and People Smuggling and ensuring that a dynamic image is presented on the department in all its dealings with contemporary migration issues
The unit is also responsible for building capacities within the department in terms of training and dissemination of information relating to contemporary migration issues.
3.6 Corporate Services
Manager Human Resources- Ben Chand
The primary role of the Corporate Services Division is to provide efficient administration and financial support services by ensuring that the Department's services to the Director and Senior Management are effectively operational and maintained at all times and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the general public and government policies.
Responsible for the staff management by providing guidance and advice to staff in ensuring that PSC Act, Regulations and procedures are adhered to pertaining to all personnel matters.
Provides registry services, open/close file record, circulate and file correspondence and ensure that officers receives files within 2 days of receipt of inward mail; maintain bring up system, monitor movement of files; maintain files and ensure registry security.
Typing Pool Section
This section comprises of our two secretaries, eight Typists who are responsible to the Director, Assistant Director and other staff for executive secretarial support and provides secretarial assistance. It is also irresponsible in the typing of all processed Permits and Passports.
3.7 Accounts Service
Manager Accounts- Umeshwaran Ram
The Accounts Section ensures the provision of up to date, efficient, effective and timely financial management in accordance with the requirements of the Finance Act, Financial Instructions, Supplies of Services Instructions and other existing rules and regulations. It provides assistance, guidance and timely reports to the Department's senior management, unit supervisors and others to facilitate the Department's targets and goals.