Fiji is a Pacific paradise rich in culture and tradition, with pristine beaches, lush locales and wonderful places to explore. Located in the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji is comprised of more than 330 islands, but most expats who move to this idyllic archipelago choose to base themselves on the largest island Viti Levu, which is home to the capital, Suva.
Though it has a turbulent history, living in Fiji can be both exciting and rewarding. Since 1987, the political situation in Fiji has been somewhat volatile. But with the successful implementation of a new constitution in 2013 and the first peaceful democratic elections held in 2014, Fiji has started enjoying stability and a resurgence of employment opportunities.
Expats are often employed in education, tourism and the NGO sectors. That said, it can be difficult for foreigners to get a work permit for Fiji, so potential expats should ensure that they have their documentation ready before they move. Expat accommodation in Suva and Nadi is relatively expensive because of the limited supply, so it can often take time for new arrivals to find suitable accommodation.
Most expat jobs are based in Suva, Nadi or one of the many surrounding island resorts. For those based in Suva or Nadi, it’s easy to escape on the weekend. Expats can head to 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 on the surrounding coral reefs.
For those moving to Fiji with children, there are a few international schools in Suva and Nadi that teach foreign curricula. While Fiji has both public and private healthcare options, most expats use small private hospitals in Suva and Nadi. These offer a good basic standard of healthcare; however, they are limited in terms of their diagnostic, specialist and surgical abilities. Expats should therefore ensure they have health insurance that includes repatriation to hospitals in Australia and New Zealand, if necessary, especially in complicated or emergency cases.
Though not perfect, Fiji has a lot to offer adventurous expats. Its unique mix of cultures, natural beauty and tropical lifestyle make Fiji a great destination for those looking for something different.
Full name: Republic of Fiji
Population: About 900,000
Capital city: Suva
Neighbouring countries: Fiji is completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Major neighbours include New Zealand far to the south, Australia is to the west and Papua New Guinea to the northwest.
Geography: Fiji is made up of more than 300 islands, of which around 100 are inhabited. The islands are mountainous, consisting of thick tropical forests.
Political system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Major religions: Christianity and Hinduism
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 does exist in Fijian cities, but much of the infrastructure is not well-developed. Most expats opt to buy a car and hire a local driver during their time in Fiji.