16 Jun 2004

Fiji promises tough penalties to curb work permit breaches

5:33 pm on 16 June 2004

The Fiji Government plans to impose tough new penalties on visitors to the country who are found to have breached their work permits.

The director of the immigration department, Joe Browne, made the comment following police reports of an Asian prostitution racket operating in Suva.

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, says a number of businesses in the hospitality industry are acting as brothels for Asian women who have entered Fiji on legitimate visas.

Mr Browne - who admits he was not aware of the Suva racket - says visitors to Fiji who breach the conditions of their visas are likely to face jail, heavy fines, or both.

"We are looking at the new immigration act and the passport act and the regulations to go with. And the penalites for the new act is substantial."

Mr Browne says he hopes that the new penalites will be announced shortly.