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Education and Schools in Fiji

The education system in Fiji comprises public and private schooling. The standard of public schools in Fiji varies quite dramatically, though. While expat students are eligible to enrol in Fiji's public schools, most expat parents don't go for this option due to language and cultural barriers.

Expats in Fiji tend to send their children to private schools, with the majority opting for international schools.


Public schools in Fiji

Public schools in Fiji are open to expat enrolment, with free attendance between the ages of six to 16. That said, funding from the cash-strapped Fijian government is often inadequate, and the result is wide variability in the standard of government schools.


Private and international schools in Fiji

There are only a few international schools throughout Fiji, most of which can be found in Suva and Nadi. Expat parents typically prefer this option for their children. High demand for places can make it challenging to secure a spot in an international school, so if expat families wish to take this route, it's best to start the application process as early as possible. 

Fees for international schools are expensive by Fijian standards, and only wealthy Fijian nationals can afford them. It is recommended for expats to negotiate provisions for school fees as part of their salary package.


Special-needs education in Fiji

Parents whose children have learning difficulties or special needs can rest assured that their educational needs will be met. Fiji's constitution mandates school attendance for all children regardless of their ability, and all children should be allowed to learn together wherever possible.

Child with special needs are therefore accommodated in mainstream classrooms as far as possible. In cases where disabilities are too severe, children are placed in specialised facilities catering for their specific needs.


Tutors in Fiji

Tutors are a valuable resource for children arriving in an unfamiliar environment and adjusting to a new curriculum. Hiring a tutor is also helpful for children who struggle in specific subjects such as maths or science, or for those who require assistance with university entrance exams. Some excellent tutoring companies expat parents could try are Papas Tutoring House or the Sunshine Tuition Centre.

Public Holidays in Fiji

 

2023

2024

New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

Good Friday

7 April

29 March

Easter Saturday

8 April

30 March

Easter Monday

10 April

1 April

Constitution Day

7 September

7 September

Prophet's Birthday

2 October

16 September

Fiji Day

10 October

10 October

Diwali

12 November

1 November

Christmas Day

25 December

25 December

Boxing Day

26 December

26 December

* Islamic holidays are subject to change as they are based on the sighting of the moon.

Transport and Driving in Fiji

Getting around Fiji is relatively easy, with many public transport options available. Expats should, however, note that public transport infrastructure is not always comprehensive or efficient, especially on the smaller islands. Driving in Fiji can also be difficult due to poor road conditions. Expats who purchase a car should consider enlisting the services of a local driver to assist them. 


Public transport in Fiji

Buses

The main form of public transport in Fiji is buses, but travelling by bus in the island nation is an experience itself. Buses in Fiji tend to be noisy, crowded and a little uncomfortable; however, they're great for short journeys and are a fantastic way to interact with the friendly locals.

While they are cheap and service most areas, their frequency varies considerably depending on their destination and the day of the week. Expats will also find the bus networks on Fiji's larger islands are extensive and efficient. 

Shared taxis

Overcrowded minivans are a common sight throughout Fiji. These shared taxis are popular among locals and are often the quickest way to get to a destination. They are cheaper than buses, but more expensive than hiring a private taxi.

Passengers should not expect a comfortable ride, though – drivers tend to maximise their profits by transporting as many passengers as possible in a single load.

Carriers

Small trucks with tarpaulin-covered frames on their backs are known as carriers in Fiji. These trucks run trips along popular routes in the country, such as between Nadi and Suva. They can be found on the main roads or central spots in Fiji’s main cities or towns. While travelling by carrier is often faster than by bus, they may not be the best option for time-strapped expats as the vehicles only leave when they are full.

Ferries

Expats looking to travel between islands in Fiji can take the ferry. There are several operators offering a variety of destinations and departure times. The cost of travelling by ferry in Fiji is fairly reasonable.


Taxis in Fiji

Taxis are easily accessible in all of Fiji’s main cities, and there will always be a taxi rank close to the city’s bus station. Fijians rarely use private taxis, so there are often too many of them furiously competing for expats' business.

While some taxis are well maintained, most are in bad shape. If travelling in a city, ask the driver to put the meter on before beginning the journey. In the rural parts of Fiji, expats may find that drivers will not use a meter and should ensure they agree on a price with the driver before starting the trip. Uber is currently not operational in Fiji, but the country has several local ride-hailing apps available.


Driving in Fiji

While there isn’t much traffic on Fiji’s roads, many embassies still advise their nationals to avoid driving in the country. Many roads are poorly maintained, and littered with potholes.

Expats who want to drive should do so defensively and always be cautious on the roads. It’s also best to avoid driving at night, especially outside the urban areas.

Expats from countries that drive on the left side of the road are eligible to convert their overseas driving licence to a Fijian driving licence. They will need to submit an application form, identity documents and a translation letter (if their overseas licence is not in English), to Fiji's Land Transport Authority.


Domestic flights in Fiji

In addition to Fiji’s international airports in Nadi and Suva, the country has a few domestic airports. Flying is the fastest way to travel between the islands and the added advantage of taking a domestic flight in Fiji is the stunning views of the islands, lagoons and corals passengers will enjoy.


Cycling in Fiji

Bicycles are another popular way for locals and expats to travel in Fiji. That said, cycling alongside cars in Fiji can be difficult and dangerous, as the cycling infrastructure is undeveloped with no designated lanes.

Cycle shops are hard to come by in Fiji, so cyclists should always carry their own spares and supplies. There are only a few bicycle rental companies, and prices can be hefty, so expats planning to cycle regularly should invest in a bike.

Safety in Fiji

Most expats have no reason to be overly concerned about safety in Fiji, as it is a popular and accommodating destination. Be that as it may, much of the country is still developing, and it certainly isn't without crime. Expats in Fiji should use common sense, be vigilant and follow basic safety precautions.  


Crime in Fiji

Expats moving to Fiji should note that some parts of the country have high crime rates. Fiji has a noticeable wealth gap, and as a result the country has seen an increase in crime. That said, most criminal acts are petty, expats should therefore keep their valuables out of sight when out in public and avoid walking around at night.


Civil unrest in Fiji

Fiji has been relatively calm following years of civil unrest and political violence. The possibility of a resurgence remains, though, so we advise that expats avoid political demonstrations, large gatherings or places where military activity is taking place.


Safety on public transport in Fiji

Public transport in Fiji can be risky. There are frequent crimes against taxi drivers, so expats in Fiji should avoid taxis carrying other passengers and not allow drivers to pick up other passengers en route.

Minibus, bus and taxi drivers also rarely adhere to traffic laws in Fiji, which makes travelling on the roads dangerous. 

Foreigners should avoid driving wherever possible, and those who choose to get behind the wheel should drive defensively. While road conditions in the urban areas of Fiji are of a decent standard, those in the rural areas are often poor.


Cyclones in Fiji

The Pacific cyclone season runs from November to April. Cyclones vary in intensity and the destruction they cause.

In the event of a cyclone warning, expats should follow the instructions of the local authorities. In most cases, the damage caused by a cyclone will be moderate, and people are generally advised to seek shelter indoors until the storm passes.

Visas for Fiji

Foreigners who want to visit or settle in the island country of Fiji must ensure that their paperwork is in order and that they have the correct visa or work permit. 

We recommend expats research the country’s immigration and visa laws to ensure they apply for the right permit. Apart from visitor's visas, which are available at the border for some nationalities, most visa applications will need to be completed well in advance.


Visitors visa for Fiji

A visitor's visa allows the holder to enter Fiji for a holiday, travel or business. There is a single-entry visa (valid for three months) and a multiple-entry visa (valid for four months).

Citizens of more than 100 countries, including Australia, Canada, South Africa, the UK and the US are eligible for visa exemptions in Fiji. These visitors are issued a visa upon arrival and will only need an onward ticket, proof of adequate funds and a passport that should remain valid for at least six months from the date they intend to leave the island. Those who do not qualify for visa exemptions should apply for a visa through the Fijian embassy or consulate in their home country.


Work permits for Fiji

The Fijian Department of Immigration grants work permits on a case-by-case basis. There are different work permits available in Fiji. 

Expats keen on starting a business and investing in Fiji's local economy are eligible to apply for the investor permit for non-citizen investors. Prospective employees looking to secure a Fijian work permit will need to secure a role in the country first. They can then apply for a work permit for non-citizen skilled contracted workers. These are typically granted to workers with scarce skills and a job offer that cannot be adequately filled by a Fijian citizen.


Residence permits for Fiji

Those looking to settle in Fiji but don't intend to work or set up a business would need to apply for the Residence Permit on Assured Income. This permit is for those with assets outside of Fiji that can fund their upkeep. Most expats who fall into this category are retirees. 

Expats will need to submit proof of funds, such as an offshore bank or retirement scheme statement, with their application. Other requirements include medical and police reports.

Banking, Money and Taxes in Fiji

Banking in Fiji is relatively straightforward. Several multinational banks have a presence in the country and are likely to provide the most suitable services for expats.

Expats should note that while the availability and standard of banking facilities in the main cities and tourist spots are good, they become limited in the outer islands and surrounding areas.


Money in Fiji

The official currency of Fiji is the Fijian dollar (FJD). Each Fijian dollar is divided into 100 cents. 

  • Notes: 2 FJD, 5 FJD, 7 FJD, 10 FJD, 20 FJD, 50 FJD, 100 FJD and 2,000 FJD

  • Coins: 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents and 1 FJD 

Currency exchanges are available at bureaux de change and most major banks located in urban centres and tourist resorts in Fiji. Expats travelling to the more remote parts of Fiji should carry enough cash for their trip, as it can be difficult to access money or exchange currency in rural areas.


Banking in Fiji

Banking in Fiji is fairly easy to navigate and quite efficient. The biggest multinational banks in the country include Australian New Zealand Bank (ANZ), Westpac, Bank South Pacific (BSP), Asset Management Bank and Bank of Baroda.

ATMs and credit cards

ATMs are accessible at most banks in Fiji, as well as in shopping centres and tourist resorts. Many ATMs accept international debit cards, such as Cirrus and Maestro. ANZ also has ATMs scattered throughout Nadi and Suva.


Taxes in Fiji

Expats relocating to Fiji for work need to discuss taxes with their employer and take the necessary steps to avoid double taxation.

The percentage of income tax expats will pay depends on whether they are considered tax residents in Fiji. Tax residents are expats who live in Fiji permanently or are in the country for more than half of the tax year.

Fiji has double-taxation treaties with some countries, which prevent expats from being taxed on their income in both Fiji and their home country. Filing taxes is a complicated procedure, even without having to file in dual systems, so we recommend expats consult a specialist tax advisor for support.

Embassy Contacts for Fiji


Fijian embassies

  • Fiji Embassy, Washington DC, United States (also responsible for Canada): +1 202 466 8320

  • Fiji High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 207 584 3661

  • Fiji High Commission, Canberra, Australia (also responsible for Ireland): +612 620 5115

  • Fiji High Commission, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 473 5401


Foreign embassies in Fiji

  • United States Embassy, Suva, Fiji: +679 331 4466

  • British High Commission, Suva, Fiji: +679 322 9100

  • Canadian Consulate, Nadi, Fiji: +679 992 4999

  • Australian High Commission, Suva, Fiji: +679 338 2211

  • South African High Commission, Suva, Fiji: +679 331 1087

  • New Zealand High Commission, Suva, Fiji: +679 331 1422

Working in Fiji

Most expats who move to Fiji are usually looking to retire in the idyllic island nation, but very few relocate for the country's career opportunities. Still, many expats are beginning to realise the potential in the burgeoning Pacific economy and thanks to the availability of an investment permit, it is fairly easy to set up businesses in Fiji. But expats on the job hunt may experience challenges with acquiring the work permit necessary to secure employment in Fiji.


Job market in Fiji

Agriculture and tourism are the most robust industries in the archipelago. However, both are vulnerable to disruption from Fiji's frequent cyclones, which somewhat hamper their growth. The previously unstable political situation in Fiji further affected the country's tourism industry. Despite this, tourism employs plenty of people, and expats who move to Fiji usually set up guest houses and restaurants to capitalise on the expanding hospitality industry. 

Fiji is also rich in forestry, mineral and fish resources, with coconut, ginger and sugar as the main cash crops. Although agriculture accounts for less than 15 percent of the country's GDP, the industry employs approximately two-thirds of the Fijian workforce.


Finding a job in Fiji 

Finding a job in Fiji is a rather arduous task, so expats should start job hunting as soon as possible to secure a role before relocating, as it can be incredibly difficult to get a job after arriving. Recruitment agencies are valuable resources and can help with the search, as agents are typically knowledgeable about the local job market. Otherwise, online job portals and social networking sites such as LinkedIn also advertise the various opportunities available in the country.


Work culture in Fiji

Fijians are friendly, hospitable people and often go the extra mile to make expats feel welcome, including in the workplace. Elderly associates and managers are generally revered, and the workplace has a hierarchical system. Punctuality is not as strictly observed in Fiji as it is in some western countries, as ‘Pacific time’ means people are frequently late for scheduled events. Though, expats should still arrive on time and be tolerant of the cultural norms in the country.

Cost of Living in Fiji

The cost of living in Fiji is surprisingly high. For those earning local salaries, the budget may be a bit tight – but most expats will earn more than the typical local salary and should find Fiji rather affordable.


Cost of accommodation in Fiji 

Accommodation, especially in Suva or Nadi, will be the biggest expense expats will face. Most expats live in the city centre or on the main islands, which can be steep. Expats in Fiji may also face safety issues such as break-ins and petty theft, necessitating the additional costs of private security at their homes.

The other costs that come with renting a standalone home include back-up electrical supply, as there are frequent power cuts in Fiji.


Cost of transportation in Fiji

Getting around Fiji is fairly easy and inexpensive. Buses are particularly cheap, while taxis are more costly but are still far more reasonable than in Europe or the US.

Cars are slightly pricey in Fiji, and finding a reliable second-hand vehicle can be a challenge. Drivers in the country are notoriously reckless, meaning the second-hand cars are rarely in good condition.


Cost of education in Fiji 

Fiji offers free education for all children between the ages of six and 16. Despite this, most expats choose to enrol their children in expensive international schools. This is because the standard of Fiji's public schools varies considerably due to inadequate government funding. Fortunately, expats can negotiate to have this cost covered or subsidised by their employer as part of relocation costs.


Cost of healthcare in Fiji

It is essential for expats moving to Fiji to purchase private health insurance. Some of Fiji’s government hospitals lack equipment and the skills expats from Western countries may be accustomed to. Therefore, new arrivals should secure comprehensive private healthcare, including cover for medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand.


Cost of food and eating out in Fiji 

The cost of food and eating out in the island country will largely depend on expats’ preferences. Imported products and fresh produce are significantly more expensive than locally produced items.

With a vibrant and diverse culinary scene, it's no wonder eating out is a favourite pastime in Fiji. Gourmands can find everything from cheap street food to the more expensive and trendy resort restaurants serving local and international cuisine.


Cost of living in Fiji chart

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Suva in August 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent in a good area)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

FJD 1,150

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

FJD 700

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

FJD 2,600

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

FJD 1,270

Shopping

Milk (1 litre)

FJD 2.68

Loaf of white bread

FJD 1.07

Chicken breasts (1kg)

FJD 12.16

Rice (1kg)

FJD 2.32

Dozen eggs

FJD 5.83

Pack of cigarettes

FJD 18

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

FJD 15

Coca-Cola (330ml)

FJD 2.41

Cappuccino

FJD 5.75

Bottle of beer (local)

FJD 6

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

FJD 80

Utilities

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

FJD 0.37

Internet (average per month)

FJD 60

Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)

FJD 118

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

FJD 1

City centre bus/train fare

FJD 1.12

Petrol (per litre)

FJD 2.54

Pros and Cons of Moving to Fiji

Renowned for its palm-lined beaches, clear lagoons and rocky landscapes, Fiji is a South Pacific paradise offering an excellent quality of life with a gentle cost of living. While Fiji may seem like the perfect expat destination, there are some drawbacks to life in the world’s soft coral capital. 

Below are some pros and cons that expats may experience living in Fiji.


Lifestyle in Fiji

+ PRO: Breathtaking natural scenery

Nature-loving expats will love Fiji’s pristine coastline, picturesque turquoise waters and dramatic mountainscapes and rainforests. Bouma National Heritage Park is a beautiful oasis where expats can hike in some of Fiji’s forests or swim in one of the many waterfalls. Reef viewing, kayaking and island hopping are some exciting activities adventurists can look forward to. 

+ PRO: Shimmering beaches

Lounging on one of Fiji’s sandy beaches is sure to become a favourite pastime for new arrivals looking to wind down. Expats can enjoy water sports such as surfing, scuba diving and fishing or simply take in the stunning ocean views from a comfortable beachside resort or restaurant. 

+ PRO: Lively annual festivals 

Fiji is well known for its rich traditions and culture, and the island country’s festivals celebrate this loudly. The South Indian Fire-Walking Festival is a traditional Hindu cleansing festival that expats can witness around July or August every year. Fijians also observe Diwali and the Hibiscus Festival in a colourful and lively fashion. 

- CON: Highly visible economic inequality

Fiji has a noticeable wealth gap, with some of the country’s well-to-do residing in modern housing in the capital and the rural areas unable to access basic services. The contrast between the country's affluent suburbs and villages can be jarring for some expats.


Working in Fiji

+ PRO: Great work culture

The island nation boasts a casual, warm and welcoming work environment, which can make setting up a business or working in Fiji a largely pleasant experience.

- CON: Difficult to find a job and obtain a work visa

Perhaps, one of the biggest downsides to moving to Fiji is the challenge of landing a role. Expats who want to work in Fiji must have a job offer to apply for a work permit. Securing a job offer can be difficult as the country’s economy is still recovering from years of political instability.


Accommodation in Fiji

+ PRO: Most accommodation is furnished or semi-furnished

The standard of housing in Fiji varies considerably depending on where one looks. Fortunately, most rentals come fully or semi-furnished, which helps reduce costs for house hunters. 

- CON: House hunting is competitive

Finding suitable accommodation in Fiji can be arduous, especially during the high season. High demand in cities such as Suva or Nadi means rentals do not stay on the market for long.


Getting around in Fiji

+ PRO: Plenty of public transport options

Fiji has an abundance of public transport. Whether expats want to travel on land, by sea or in the air, the island country has something for every occasion. Buses are the most common form of transit, while taxis, ferries and domestic flights are also available.

- CON: Aggressive driving and chaotic traffic

Fijians are infamous for their aggressive and unsafe driving, so those looking to get behind the wheel in the country are encouraged to drive defensively. The country also lacks good quality road infrastructure, further making driving conditions dangerous.


Cost of living in Fiji

+ PRO: Affordable public transport

Owing to the abundance of public transport in Fiji, most options like buses, shared taxis, carriers and ferries are reasonably priced. 

+ PRO: Local produce and restaurants are relatively cheap

Expats can decrease their expenses by purchasing locally grown fruit and vegetables. The island country also offers a diverse and vibrant culinary scene, featuring everything from street food to delicious local delicacies at low prices.

- CON: High accommodation prices

A disparity in the supply and demand for homes in Fiji’s urban areas means that accommodation can be quite pricey. Be that as it may, homes in smaller towns and outside the city centres are often more affordable. 

- CON: International schools are expensive

Expat parents will likely have to enrol their children in one of the few international schools in Suva or Nadi, which are notoriously competitive and costly. 

- CON: Expats will need private health insurance

Fiji’s public health facilities sometimes lack the amenities and skills typical of hospitals and practitioners in Western countries, so expats will need comprehensive health insurance to access high-quality private healthcare in the country.


Safety and security in Fiji

- CON: Petty theft and house break-ins are common

Petty crime and house break-ins are unfortunately a reality in Fiji. The country’s wealth gap has led to an increase in crime and created a need for home security.


Climate in Fiji

+ PRO: Fantastic weather year-round 

Fiji is a tropical wonderland blessed with warm weather all year, meaning expats can enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.

- CON: Cyclones can occur

Cyclone season in Fiji is from November to April, and these natural events can be mild or cause massive destruction. Expats must be careful and follow the local authorities’ instructions to ensure their safety.

Moving to Fiji

Fiji is a Pacific paradise with pristine beaches, lush locales and many vibrant places to explore. Located in the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji comprises more than 330 islands, but most expats live on the largest island, Viti Levu, which is home to the capital, Suva.

Living in Fiji as an expat

Though it has a turbulent history, living in Fiji can be both exciting and rewarding. Since 1987, the political situation in Fiji has been volatile. But with the successful implementation of a new constitution in 2013 and the first peaceful democratic elections in 2014, Fiji has started enjoying stability and a resurgence of employment opportunities. 

The education, tourism and NGO sectors are the biggest expat employers. But it can be difficult for foreigners to get a work permit for Fiji, so potential expats should ensure they have their documentation ready before they move. 

Most expat jobs are in Suva, Nadi or one of the many surrounding island resorts. There is also plenty for expats to see and do during their leisure time. Expats can head to the dozens of resorts sprinkled around Viti Levu, explore the island's remote jungle interior, or travel to one of the smaller nearby islands. Many spend their weekends sailing, surfing or diving in the coral reefs.

Cost of living in Fiji

While the cost of living in Fiji is relatively low, expats should be careful when negotiating their salaries, as the costs of accommodation and education can quickly add up. Expat accommodation in Suva and Nadi is relatively expensive because of the limited supply, so it often takes time for new arrivals to find suitable housing. Expat parents will also need to budget for the exorbitant cost of international schools in Fiji. Luckily, locally grown food and restaurants are affordable, which helps keep grocery bills down.

Expat families and children in Fiji

Expat families moving to Fiji with children will find a few international schools in Suva and Nadi that teach foreign curricula. Competition for international schools is notoriously fierce, though, so parents should start the application process as soon as possible to secure a place for their children. 

While Fiji has both public and private healthcare options, most expats use the small private hospitals in Suva and Nadi. These offer a good basic standard of healthcare; however, they have limitations in terms of their diagnostic, specialist and surgical abilities. Expats should therefore ensure they have health insurance that includes evacuation to hospitals in Australia or New Zealand. 

When it comes to being out and about with the family, Fiji has something for everyone. Most resorts have many activities to keep the little ones engaged while educating them about Fiji’s rich culture and traditions. Beach days, hikes, kayaking and island hopping are some exhilarating pursuits expats can look forward to. 

Climate in Fiji

The climate in Fiji is tropical marine, characterised by the wet and dry seasons. Fortunately, the weather is typically warm throughout the year. Perhaps, the only downside to living in this idyllic Pacific island country is the humidity and constant rain during the wet season, which can cause mould. 

Though not perfect, Fiji has a lot to offer adventurous expats. Its unique mix of cultures, natural beauty and tropical lifestyle make it an incredible destination for those looking for something different and an even better quality of life.


Essential info about Fiji

Full name: Republic of Fiji

Population: Approximately 910,000

Capital city: Suva

Neighbouring countries: As Fiji is in the South Pacific Ocean, it has no direct neighbours. The closest countries include New Zealand in the far south, Australia to the west and Papua New Guinea to the northwest.

Geography: Fiji consists of more than 300 islands, with only 100 inhabited. The islands are mountainous with thick tropical forests.

Political system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic 

Major religions: Christianity, Hinduism and Islam

Main languages: English, Fijian and Hindi

Money: The official currency is the Fijian Dollar (FJD), divided into 100 cents. Most expats use one of Fiji's multinational banks. ATMs are readily available in the main cities, and credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas.

Tipping: Not expected but appreciated

Time: GMT+12 (GMT+13 from November to January)

Electricity: 240V, 50Hz. Plugs are the same as those used in Australia and New Zealand.

Internet domain: .fj

International dialling code: +679

Emergency contacts: 917 (police), 911 (fire and ambulance)

Transport and driving: Traffic drives on the left-hand side. Public transport in Fijian cities is extensive, but its infrastructure is underdeveloped. Most expats opt to buy a car and hire a local driver during their time in Fiji.

Healthcare in Fiji

Fiji is a developing country, and its standard of healthcare reflects this. Expats and visitors travelling to and moving to Fiji must ensure they have comprehensive healthcare coverage that allows access to private medical treatment should the need arise.


Public healthcare in Fiji

The standard of public healthcare in Fiji varies considerably. Hospitals in urban areas may be adequate, but those in rural areas are either basic and inefficient or non-existent. In many cases, Fijians living in rural areas travel for hours to access treatment.

Expats can seek treatment at government-run hospitals in Fiji. Although, the standard of care is not always good and wait times tend to be lengthy as a result of understaffing.

Expats should secure access to private healthcare in Fiji, wherever possible, as standards are likely to be closer to those in Western countries with shorter waiting times and facilities that are more modern.


Private healthcare in Fiji

There are a few private hospitals in Fiji, most of which are in Suva or Nadi. These hospitals generally have 24-hour medical centres with general practitioners, specialist doctors and relatively comfortable in-patient facilities. That said, there is a lack of diagnostic equipment and specialists typical in developed countries. Expats should therefore include medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand as part of their health insurance cover.


Pharmacies in Fiji

Pharmacies in Fiji are typically available in major cities and towns and close to or within tourist resorts. Pharmaceutical supplies are largely adequate, but lack the variety on offer in Australia and New Zealand. Therefore, those travelling to Fiji should ensure they have a sufficient supply of necessary medication with them at all times.

It is also quite rare to find a 24-hour pharmacy in Fiji. Expats bringing prescription medication to the country should carry a doctor’s letter or prescription from home.


Health hazards in Fiji

There are several health risks expats should be aware of when moving to Fiji. Food poisoning and stomach bugs can be an issue for new arrivals. Expats should be careful when purchasing meat and fish products, especially from roadside markets, where there is usually no refrigeration. 

Expats should avoid tap water, salads and raw vegetables washed with tap water, and ice in soft drinks. Water- and food-borne infectious diseases such as typhoid and hepatitis are prevalent in Fiji.


Pre-travel vaccinations for Fiji

There are no mandatory immunisations required for travel to Fiji. However, those moving to Fiji should ensure routine vaccinations, including the measles-mumps-rubella, the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, polio, chicken pox, Covid-19 and flu vaccines are up-to-date. 


Emergency services in Fiji

In a medical emergency, expats can call an ambulance on 911. However, expats should note that emergency medical infrastructure in Fiji is underdeveloped, and response times for ambulances can be slow. Ambulances in Fiji are also poorly equipped, and the staff is not always well-trained.

Accommodation in Fiji

Most expats in Fiji only move to the country on a short-term assignment, unless they're retiring. Most expat rent rather than buy accommodation in Fiji. 

Regardless of what type of accommodation expats are looking for and the duration of their stay, they should familiarise themselves with the property rental processes in Fiji before relocating.


Types of accommodation in Fiji

Expats will find a diverse range of accommodation types in Fiji, from freestanding houses and villas to apartment blocks. It is common for housing to come furnished or semi-furnished.

While there is high-quality rental accommodation in Fiji, expats should note there may be a shortage of suitable properties, especially during the high season. Most expats live and work in Nadi, Suva or the island's main resorts. They can be pricey, though, so it's a good idea to ask for a housing allowance during salary negotiations with their employer.


Finding accommodation in Fiji

It is a good idea for expats to enlist the services of a real-estate agent in their search for accommodation in Fiji. They typically have invaluable knowledge of the local housing market and rental processes. If choosing to go it alone, expats can try their luck with online property portals.


Renting accommodation in Fiji

Leases

When signing a lease, expats must thoroughly read the agreement to ensure they fully understand the terms of the contract. They should also note any special conditions, such as the cost of utilities and whether it's included in the rental price or billed separately.

Deposits

House hunters will need to pay a deposit and the first month's rent before moving in to secure a property. The deposit is usually the equivalent of one month's rent, though some landlords may ask for as much as six months.

The full deposit should be returned at the end of the lease period as long as there is no damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear. Expats are encouraged to take inventory of the state of the property before moving in to ensure they are not erroneously held responsible for any damage.

Safety and security

Safety in Fiji can be an issue for expats, thanks to the wealth gap in the country, which has driven crime up. Home invasions happen, so expats must prioritise living in a good area with robust security features such as fences and burglar alarms. Many expats also employ guards, which creates the need for a guard house and toilet at the front gate. 

Properties should also be cyclone-proof and have back-up generators, as Fiji’s electricity supply is unreliable, even in Suva. Voltage variations, surges and blackouts are commonplace, especially during heavy rains.

Culture Shock in Fiji

Fiji's culture will likely be very different to most expats' cultures. Be that as it may, newcomers can count on the locals' friendliness and hospitality. Foreigners usually attract some unwanted attention from curious locals in rural areas, but this is mostly harmless, and expats should handle it with grace.

New arrivals in Fiji will have to come to grips with hearing a new language and being exposed to local traditions and culinary delicacies. That said, the most significant elements of culture shock in Fiji will likely stem from religion and politics.


Religion in Fiji

Fiji has a highly religious culture, with churches of various denominations spread throughout the archipelago. More than half of Fiji's population is Christian, with the Methodist Church commanding the largest congregation, followed by the Catholic Church. 

Expats who do not hold strong religious beliefs will need to be careful not to offend the locals. It's also important to dress modestly, keeping the shoulders and knees covered, especially when visiting religious sites or traditional villages.


Politics in Fiji

Fiji’s recent history has been dominated by several military coups, the most recent of which happened in December 2006. In 2013, the country introduced a new constitution and held general elections in 2014. While the country's political climate is currently stable, we recommend expats stay away from any political protests or demonstrations that may occur.


Time in Fiji

Expats new to the archipelago may notice there's little urgency for anything in Fiji – Fijians will regularly turn up late for both meetings and social events. In Fiji, this is not considered rude, but is simply a part of the culture.

Weather in Fiji

Fiji has a tropical marine climate and is blessed with warm weather all year round. The hot and humid dry season is usually from November to April, with temperatures averaging between 77°F (25°C) and 86°F (30°C). The wet season, usually from May to October, brings about slightly brisk and less humid conditions.

Fiji is prone to cyclones, particularly between November and April. Though they don't occur annually, expats moving to Fiji long term will likely encounter this unnerving weather phenomenon at some stage. Tropical depressions, which can turn into cyclones, are carefully monitored during cyclone season, and regular public updates are issued. The best way to keep safe is to stay informed and heed government safety advice.

Doing Business in Fiji

Expats may find that doing business in Fiji is not a straightforward process, but is rather bureaucratic. Businesspeople who can successfully navigate the country's red tape are sure to see that working with Fijians quite pleasant. Business dealings are mostly casual and friendly (yet respectful).


Fast facts

Business hours

9am to 5pm, from Monday to Friday.

Business language

English

Dress

Casual. Everyday work attire consists of neat pants and a short-sleeved shirt. Expats should wear suits and ties only on formal occasions, which rarely happen.

Greetings

A formal handshake is the best way to greet business associates in Fiji. Always show respect towards elders in a business environment. 

Gifts

Gifts are expected and appreciated. 

Gender equality

The business environment in Fiji is still quite patriarchal, and local women are usually expected to take care of housework rather than work.


Business culture in Fiji

Expats doing business in Fiji will initially experience culture shock. The sooner expats adjust to the changes, the easier assimilation will be. Fijians are friendly, hospitable people and tend to go the extra mile to make expats feel welcome. Colleagues will typically invite one another for dinner at their home, and it's expected of people to accept the offer and bring a gift – the hosts will certainly appreciate it.

Time

New arrivals are often surprised to learn that punctuality at business meetings in Fiji is not as strict as one may expect. Expats should still arrive on time and be tolerant and patient.

Management

Senior Fijian associates may not be as opinionated as in Western business circles. Expats should not interpret this as disengagement, but rather be aware that they are observing and analysing before making a decision. Elderly senior colleagues are also generally revered.

Culture

Expats doing business in Fiji are likely to encounter the country's national drink, kava. Though non-alcoholic, this plant-based drink has a mildly narcotic effect. It's often present in business dealings in Fiji, whether as a gift at an introductory meeting or as a celebration after concluding a successful business deal.


Dos and don’ts of business in Fiji

  • Do show respect to senior colleagues and elders

  • Do be punctual even if business associates are not

  • Don't show up to a business meeting in a full suit. It's best to wear a light short-sleeved shirt

  • Do spend time socialising with business associates