Fiji offers immigrant investors access to an English-speaking South Pacific paradise. The ex-pat community includes Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, as well as Europeans and North Americans. Fiji offers world-class golf, beaches and fishing. Social, banking and communications services, although not up to European standard, do the job. The down side is political instability and occasional ethnic violence between Fijians and Indians. To date, foreigners seem to be exempt from the fray. As long as immigration remains a trickle rather than a socially upsetting flood, the atmosphere should remain conducive to investors looking for quality of life.
There are two non-immigrant visas appropriate for investors: resident permits and investor permits.
Residence permit applicants must invest in any business venture of over F$ 100,000 approved by the Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau. They must also prove disposable assets outside Fiji sufficient to ensure that they will not become a public charge or need to seek employment in the Fiji Islands.
A summary of the rules follows:
- The principal applicant must be at least 45 years of age and carry health insurance.
- The principal applicant should have an assured income and should not seek employment in the Fiji Islands.
- The principal applicant must deposit a sum of F$ 140,000 in a resident account of a local bank upon approval of the application, as well as purchase a bond of F$2,063 for each family member.
- Real estate is no longer included in the investment amount.
- The permit holder must obtain clearance from the Immigration Department for any repatriation of funds used to qualify for immigration status and be willing to give up immigration status as a result.
- The applicant must have adequate knowledge of the English language.
In summary, one merely makes a bank deposit of F$ 140,000 and receives a three-year residence permit in return. To renew for another three years, simply show that you have F$30,000 in cash in Fiji for a family of up to three dependents under age 45, or F$40,000 for families of four or more dependents under age 45.
One may not remove the investment funds from Fiji without government permission unless one is also giving up the residence permit. Citizenship laws change often; currently one must live in Fiji five out of ten years. Because Fiji doesn’t permit dual nationality, few people bother to apply.
The investor permit is same as the residence permit but requires a F$250,000 investment in return for a seven-year stay, rather than three years as in the case of the residence permit. Investors may apply for citizenship after five years’ continuous residence.
Permanent residency permit
The Fijian government introduced the permanent residency permit to help foreign entrepreneurs come and go as they please, and obtain assurance that they can stay in Fiji without applying for citizenship and losing their overseas nationality.
The rules are as follows.
- 1.The applicant:
- Must be of good fame and character
- Cannot vote or take part in politics
- Can have unrestricted length of residence as long as the conditions of the permit are not breached.
- 2.If the applicant applies for a permit to reside on assured income, he/she:
- Must have purchased a property costing no less than F$75,000 in Fiji
- Must have proof of a regular assured income derived from an overseas source of at least $F25,000 per annum
- Cannot take up employment without securing a work permit.
- 3.If the applicant applies for an investor permit, he/she:
- Must have introduced investment capital of not less than F$250,000
- May be employed in the investment project, but for employment elsewhere it will be necessary to obtain a work permit.
- 4.Spouses and children of the applicant who are 21 years and under qualify for the same permanent residence permit.
Most readers will have no problem with the financial requirements, have little desire to participate in Fijian politics, and do not wish to seek Fijian employment. The only obstacle to obtaining this visa is convincing somebody who has never heard of you that you are of ‘good fame and character’. This problem is best solved by applying through a connected migration agent.
Fiji offers one of the best combinations of infrastructure, golf, fishing and lifestyle in the tropical South Pacific. Those with sufficient funds and no criminal record should have little problem obtaining immigration status. Housing is reasonably priced, of relatively high quality and readily available.
As strange as its seems, the more effective migration agents for Fijian purposes are based in Seoul, Korea.
Young Kang of Nammi Emmigration provided the material for this chapter. Email: [email protected] Telephone: 822 725 5993.