31 Oct 2002

Fiji Cabinet Minister says Asian immigrants are taking jobs from locals

5:33 pm on 31 October 2002

Fiji's labour minister, Kenneth Zinck, has expressed concern about the high number of Asian workers employed in the local garment industry, saying these jobs should go to locals.

Mr Zinck says the government has an obligation to employ locals because there is a high indigenous unemployment rate to address.

He says he would prefer locals to be given the first shot at any work available, but pinpoints the rise in the influx of illegal immigrants working in Fiji, especially in the garment industry, as one of the main obstacles.

"However, the rise and influx of Asians working here perhaps is the responsibility of the Immigration Department and I'm sure they're working on it but there has been a significant increase. The thing is also that a lot of these factories are owned by Chinese and Asians and as such I think they take first preference for their own people to come and work here in Fiji."

Kenneth Zinck