18 Oct 2010

Academic says economy not politics driving migrants from Fiji

8:11 pm on 18 October 2010

A Fiji academic says people leaving Fiji to live abroad are continuing to do so for economic rather than political reasons.

Five to six and a half thousand people have been migrating overseas each year since 1995 and latest figures from Fiji's Bureau of Statistics show numbers emigrating are slightly down on last year at just over five thousand.

Professor of Development Studies at the University of the South Pacific, Professor Vijay Naidu, says his studies reveal economic reasons are now the main reason for people leaving Fiji.

"We are not having everyday political turmoil in the country but the economy is not expanding and the labour market is not expanding . The cost of living is going up and so they are looking for opportunities elsewhere."

Professor Naidu says since before the 2006 coup emigrants were mostly Fiji Indians but indigenous Fijians are now making up more of the diaspora.