- Work Permit extensions should be applied for a minimum of 1 month prior to its expiry to ensure a faster turnaround. Permit processing turnaround has improved tremendously, but we need to do our part as well.
- Work Permit holders do not need to leave the country to get an extension
- Extensions cover family members/dependents as well
- Where a contract with the original organisation is ending and the work permit is still valid, a new work permit must be applied for if a new contract is confirmed with another organisation
- Where a work permit is expiring along with the work contract and the permit holder is unable to leave due to closed borders, a “special purpose COVID extension” may be applied for that provides an extension for 6 months, plus a further 6 months after that. No employment is allowed under this extension.
- If you have a contracted work permit holder that is currently out of the country & the permit has expired, you can apply for an extension to that permit based on the need for that person’s skills and your expectation that they can return to work after the required 14 day quarantine period on arrival.
- The 14-day Business Visa is being replaced with a Visitor Permit that allows business – this can be between 4 months & 12 months and allows multiple entries into Fiji (and reduces the need for extensions and new applications). This and other changes to the Immigration Act will be updated once the approved regulations are released. This permit must be applied for by the hiring organisation.
- Special Purpose Permits – covers Yachties (that have yacht permits for 18 months extendable for 6 months or more). These must be applied through recognised Yacht Agents. The permits are also applicable for Pacific Island Country citizens on medical grounds. No employment is allowed under this permit.
- Tourist visa holders who have been unable to leave Fiji can apply for multiple extensions, but also cannot take up formal employment. A person on a tourist visa who has not been able to return home and is currently on an extended permit, and has been offered employment, must apply for a work permit through the employer that is contracting them.
- Changes are also being implemented with the Investment Fiji Act. Businesses operating with an Investment Certificate will be expected to register their businesses with the Registrar of Companies (ROC). Check FHTA’s information on ROC requirements here.
The Fiji National Provident Fund is aware of social responsibilities and in partnership with the Fijian Government, has put implemented relief packages to assist its members and employers during this time or hardship.
Source: Fiji National Provident Fund
The following are the current phases of withdrawal scheme (latest to oldest):
Employers Relief Assistance
The following COVID-19 relief measures have been activated by the Fiji National Provident Fund to assist Employers during these challenging times.
These measures are effective from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2021.
Phase 4 (Government Top Up NOT Applicable)
Members who are unemployed from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2019 can apply for Phase 4 from 31 August 2020.
The member must have a minimum General Account balance of $135 and must be between 18 to 54 years old. Members must apply on myFNPF app.
The maximum amount allowed for withdrawal is between $100 to $1,100 depending on your General Account balance. Application processing will take up to 5 working days from the date of submission.
Phase 3 (Government Top Up is applicable)
Members who are on reduced hours and reduced wage rate can apply for Phase 3 withdrawal through their employer from 10 August 2020.
Members who have insufficient General Account balance will receive Government Top Up.
Reduced Hours – applies to members who are on reduced working hours/day per week due to the economic impact of COVID-19. You will receive $22 for every day you are not working up to 4 days per week. Fortnightly payments starting from 25 August until 20 October 2020.
Reduced Wage Rate – applies to members who are on reduced wage/salary rates per hour due to the economic impact of COVID-19. You will receive $550 or $1,100 depending on the reduction of your wage rate (Lump sum payment) on the specified payment dates as per the payment schedule.
Phase 3 Round 2
FNPF members who are on reduced hours and reduced wage rate can apply for Phase 3 Round 2 from 21 October 2020.
Government top is applicable in Phase 3 for members who have insufficient General Account balance.
Phase 2 is in three categories.
- Category 1 (Government Top Up is applicable) – members who withdrew in the first phase of COVID-19 Withdrawal & have exhausted their FNPF General Account (GA) balance will receive $220 from the Government as first installment by 29 May 2020. This does not include those that applied under SME and Taxi drivers in Phase 1.
- Category 2 (Government Top Up is applicable) – members who withdrew in the first phase of COVID-19 Withdrawal and are now/still unemployed, can apply for $1,100 from your General Account. Payment in five instalments of $220 per fortnight. This is effective from 9 June 2020.
- Category 3 (Government Top Up is applicable) – members who did not apply for the first COVID-19 Withdrawal and have become unemployed, can apply for lump sum of $1,100 from your General Account. This is effective from 9 June 2020.
Note: Phase 2 withdrawal closed on 14 August 2020.
Phase 2 Round 2 (Government Top Up is applicable)
Members can apply for Phase 2 Round 2 from 24 August 2020 if they:
- • withdrew in Phase 2 (Round 1) and are still unemployed or on leave without pay.
- • are applying for the first time & have been Unemployed from 1 October 2019 or have just become Unemployed or are on Leave without pay
Members must apply on myFNPF app or through their employer.
The maximum withdrawal amount is $1,100 per member from their General Account (GA). Payment will be in five instalments of $220 per fortnight as per the payment schedule.
Government will top up to the maximum amount for members with insufficient General Account.
Phase 2 Round 3
Members who have been Unemployed from 1 October 2019 or have just become Unemployed or are on Leave without pay can apply for Phase 2 Round 3 from 28 October 2020.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Members who withdrew in Phase 2 Round 2 and indicated that they agree to be continually assisted for COVID-19 withdrawal; will be automatically re-registered for Phase 2 Round 3.
Phase 1 is in two categories.
- Category 1 (Government Top Up is applicable) – employees who work in the Tourism Sector ($1,000) and those affected due to physical distancing issues or work within the lock-down zone nation wide ($500). Employees who have had reduced working hours; been sent on leave without pay; reduced wage rate or salary; terminated or permanently laid off can apply for either $1,000 or $500 withdrawal.
- Category 2 (Government Top Up NOT applicable) – covers taxi, mini van or hire drivers, small enterprise owners and employees who have resigned, been terminated, non-renewal of contract, laid off or seasonal workers in the last 6 months can withdraw up to $1000 from their General Account depending on their eligibility.
Note: Phase 1 withdrawal closed on 29 May 2020.
The Care Fiji Commitment was launched by Tourism Fiji on 15 October 2020 and was developed to be a destination-wide assurance that Fiji is ready to welcome travellers to its shores in a post COVID-19 world.
It is Fiji’s commitment to traveller safety: a programme developed to include enhanced standards of safety, health protocols and measures so that Fiji can safely welcome back international visitors.
By committing to the programme, businesses follow key steps to ensure they have a COVID Action Plan in place and staff are trained in COVID mitigation best practice.
FHTA recommends that you do the following to ensure your business, your staff, your guests and therefore our communities remain safe:
Download: The Care Fiji Commitment – Industry Guide (Tourism Fiji)
This is a step-by-step guide compiled by Tourism Fiji illustrating the Care Fiji Commitment (CFC) and the necessary pathways of the programme. It outlines the six main steps to becoming a CFC-accredited business.
For queries or clarifications – contact James Pridgeon, Tourism Fiji firstname.lastname@example.org.
For details on what these safe Guidelines are and how you can incorporate these into your Standard Operating Procedures:
Download: Minimum COVID-safe Guidelines and Recommended Standard Operating Procedures (Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association)
This document has been crafted to provide the guidance and tools for industry to develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that comply with the standards required for COVID-19 Safe operations and achieve compliance with the Care Fiji Commitment. You are encouraged to use this document to develop your own SOPs in consultation with your workers, then share it with them. You may need to update the plan in the future, as restrictions and advice changes.
Also included is the FHTA COVID-19 Compliance Checklist to ensure that you have taken all the necessary steps to keeping everyone safe in your business environment.
For queries or clarifications – contact Litia Mario, FHTA email@example.com.
The CFC and the Minimum COVID-safe Guidelines have been developed in reference to the Fijian COVID Safe Economic Recovery Framework and Ministry of Tourism’s Guidelines.
Download: Fijian COVID Safe Economic Recovery Framework or Fijian Tourism Industry Guidelines (Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism & Transport)
Registration is open for all tourism businesses in Fiji. If you would like to adopt the Care Fiji Commitment, expressions of interest are HERE.
If you missed out on the Tourism Fiji CFC webinar held on 20 October 2020, you can still watch a recording here and register your interest in the programme by filling in the expression of interest at www.cfc.com.fj.
• Fiji has established a safe “blue lanes”, open to those yachts and pleasure craft sailing to Fiji. Any boat coming to Fiji will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. The only port of entry will be Port Denarau Marina. If this pilot project and if successful, extending blue lanes to other ports and marinas will be considered.
• Those eligible to sail to Fiji fall under two categories, both of which will require them to be tested in another country before departing.
• If their journey to Fiji will take 14 days or longer uninterrupted at sea, once they dock in Fiji and show proof of a negative test result, everyone on board will be screened by the Ministry of Health for symptoms. If they’re deemed to be healthy, their yacht will be allowed to freely visit other ports throughout Fiji.
• Alternatively, those with a journey at sea shorter than 14 days will be required to make up the difference in quarantine once they dock in Fiji at their own cost. So, say they spend eight days alone at sea –– they will then be required to pay for six days of quarantine in Fiji, after which they can be cleared by a negative test result, also at their own cost.
• Cruise ships are still strictly banned.
• From, Monday, the 22nd of June, Fijian citizens and Fiji residents in Australia and New Zealand will be permitted to travel to Fiji only after passing through a net of new safety measures.
• These are the options for returning residents and citizens:
• A health certificate from hospital or health facility recognised by MHMS in their respective country stating that he or she quarantined in Australia or New Zealand for 14 days immediately before departure from Australia or New Zealand
• Proof of a negative COVID test result within 72 hours of their departure for Fiji.
• If you haven’t done your quarantine in Australia or New Zealand but have been tested, you can present a negative COVID-test result within 72 hours of travel and, on arrival to Fiji spend 14 days in a government-designated quarantine centre. You can then go straight home if you are symptom-free.
• Mandatory: If you’re a returning Fijian citizen or Fiji resident, and regardless of whether you arrive by air or sea, you must download the careFIJI App to enter the country. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can buy one upon landing at Nadi Airport for as little as $100. If you come to Fiji, bring a smartphone or buy a smartphone and download careFIJI.
• As Fiji returns to a “new normal”, there will be a focus on rekindling Fiji’s vital film and television industry. Again, this will be done in a completely safe and controlled manner. Cast and crew won’t even be allowed to board their plane without proof of a negative COVID-19 test and will be screened for symptoms both before boarding and upon landing. They’ll then be entered into government-designated quarantine, whether that’s a pre-approved hotel or a remote isolated island, for the mandatory 14-day period. Absolutely all quarantine and testing costs will be borne by the production company.
- Expatriate Employees who have been issued 03 months extension of work permits will be eligible to apply for another extension not exceeding 31.12.2020. The requirements are as follows:
- a. Letter of request from the company,
- b. Passport Bio data copy [certified],
- c. Revised contract to suit the company’s need, and
- d. Fee of $632.00 dependents to pay additional issue fees.
• Furthermore, seeing the current pandemic and uncertainties, if company’s intend to employ the same foreign nationals for longer period may do so but they need to meet all the requirements as per the Departments new checklist.
Source: Fiji Immigration
Other Resources: Fiji COVID-19 Border Control Measures
As announced in the Fijian National Budget 2020/2021 by Government, there have been major changes to existing provisions of tax administration.
Effective 1 August 2020, all prescribed service providers will no longer be required to charge the 6% Service Turnover Tax (STT) on goods and services. This is applicable for charged products and services received from 1 August 2020 onwards.
Also from 1 August 2020, ONLY those prescribed service providers whose turnover is F$3million and above will be required to pay the Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy (ECAL) which has also now been reduced to 5% (from 10%). VAT of 9% is still applicable as normal. For a full list of prescribed service providers, CLICK HERE.
EXAMPLES OF STT & ECAL CHARGES
Scenario 1 (Before 1 August 2020)
|Service Charge (VEP)||$100.00|
Scenario 2 (After 1 August 2020 – income under F$3million threshold)
|Service Charge (VEP)||$100.00|
Scenario 3 (After 1 August 2020 – income over F$3million threshold)
|Service Charge (VEP)||$100.00|
DE-REGISTRATION FROM ECAL
We are aware that providers who are currently registered for ECAL, may now have fallen below the threshold for ECAL registration. The FHTA Secretariat is currently seeking confirmation of the proper procedure for de-registration from FRCS and will inform you as soon as we have the information. At this stage, the current requirement is to write to the FRCS CEO to request de-registration.
For more information on the Fijian National Budget announcements, CLICK HERE.
PADI, May 2020 – As the most sought-after dive professionals in the world, PADI Dive Centers, Resorts and Dive Boats are readying their operations to carefully resume diving, training and business operations while responsibly reducing COVID-19 transmission risk and giving the health and safety of their staff and clients top priority.
Though no business can guarantee zero risk, implementing a proactive policy to manage and reduce the threat of COVID-19, and implementing it consistently, is key to reducing the risk of spreading this disease. Providing staff training on your COVID disinfection and risk reduction procedures both assures them that you take health and safety seriously, and demonstrates that you expect deliberate attention to it. Communicating your policy to your customers assures them of your interest in protecting their safety and develops confidence in returning to diving with your operation.
Most dive operators find that with a little forethought and a few resources, they can make COVID-19 risk reduction part of their normal business practices without a significant burden.
Use the following resources to get started, or to cross check what you already have in place…read more
FIJI TIMES 16 April 2020 – ALL of Fiji’s ports have resume clearance and are now open according to the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji.
Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji’s manager qualification and licensing and officer-in-charge, Captain Tomasi Kete confirmed the authority’s marine notice (no:13) had cleared all ports including Southern Lau which wasn’t cleared last week.
The authority had notified all ship masters, ship owners and ship agents for foreign and local ships, pilots, port management companies, operators, marinas and yacht clubs about the clearance.
Our views are requested on which wage / salary rate should be used to calculate leave pay during the implementation of “wage / salary reduction”.
Our views are discussed below:
Applicable Legislative on Annual Leave
The Employment Relations Promulgation 2007 makes the following provisions in respect of annual leave:
Employer to give paid annual holidays
58.—(1) An employer must give to a worker paid annual holidays in accordance with this
(2) An employer may give to a worker paid annual holidays in excess of those required to be
given by this Promulgation.
Paid annual holidays
59.—(1) After each year of employment with an employer, a worker must be given 10 working days holiday
and must be paid in respect of such holiday the wages the worker would have been paid for the time the worker
would normally have worked during that period.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a worker is not entitled to the paid annual holidays in respect of any year
during which the worker attended work if the worker has been absent from work for more than 20 normal working
days during that year, except where the absence has been due to sickness certified by a medical practitioner, or the
worker is excused from work by the employer or is prevented from attending work by any other cause acceptable to
(3) If a worker is entitled to a paid annual holiday under this section, the employer must permit the worker to
take the annual holiday in one unbroken period or, at the request of the worker, in two or more periods, one of which
must be a continuous period of one week.
It is clear from Section 59 of the ERP that the legislation not only mandates minimum 10 working days leave for workers but requires employer to pay the worker during the leave.The only exception disentitling a worker to annual leave would be when a worker is absent without cause from work for more than 20 working days in the year that he is entitled to take annual leave.
Payment of Annual Leave Pay
Section 59 (1) states that “After each year of employment…a worker must be given 10 working days holiday and must be paid in respect of such holiday the wages the worker would have been paid for the time the worker would normally have worked during that period.”
Thus a worker who proceeds on annual leave should be paid what he or she would normally earn if he/she was at work.
It is thus our view that where a worker has already accrued leave, prior to the implementation of wage reductions, the leave pay should be calculated on the workers’ original base salary.
However for those workers who may not have accrued leave prior to the wage reduction implementation but are requested to take leave after the wage reduction, the Resort can calculate annual leave pay based on the new / reduced base wage rate.