Bid for return of non-citizens
28 May, 2023, 12:08 pm
In a bid to facilitate the return of non-citizens who are descendants of communities in Fiji, the Coalition Government has approved the tabling of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2023 during next month’s Parliament sitting.
This amendment seeks to reinstate Section 8 (1) (g) of the Immigration Act, which was repealed in 2010.
The repealed section states that a non-citizen whose name appears in the Vola ni Kawa Bula (VKB) be allowed entry to Fiji without a permit or visa, under the Immigration Act 2003.
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said Cabinet had approved for a review of the Immigration Act 2003 by the Office of the Attorney-General, which was then tasked with the responsibility of conducting nationwide consultations.
“Today (Friday), Cabinet approved the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2023,” Mr Rabuka confirmed.
“The Bill will be tabled in the next sitting of Parliament. The Bill has been drafted by the Office of the Attorney-General following extensive public consultations.
“The public and community consultations on the review of the Act also heard submissions from the public and members of the community for non-citizens who are descendants of communities who have made Fiji their home, including the descendants of girmitiya, to also be able to enter and/or reside in Fiji without permit or visa.”
Mr Rabuka clarified that this would also include descendants of Rotuman, Chinese, European, Ni-Vanuatu and Solomon Islander communities and other Pacific Island communities who had made Fiji their home and contributed to the development of the nation.
“Cabinet approved the exempted categories to be added to the list of non-citizens who may enter and reside in Fiji without permit or visa.
“Cabinet authorised the Minister for Home Affairs, National Security and Immigration to issue Regulation under Section 8 (3) of the Immigration Act 2003 to add the exempted categories to the list of persons who may enter or reside in Fiji without a visa or permit.
“The intent is to facilitate the return of non-citizens who are descendants of communities who have made Fiji their home to visit and/or reside in Fiji.”