23rd September 03:27 AM
Lack of PSV drivers forces companies to employ foreign bus drivers
By Anamika Singh
Wednesday 29/11/2017

There is a lack of PSV drivers in the country and some companies have employed Filipinos to drive buses in Fiji.

This was brought to light by the CEO of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation Nesbitt Hazelman at the Speakers Debate last night.

Hazelman says the foreign drivers were hired because there is a lack of bus drivers in Fiji and because of the lack of this skill, employers had to go abroad to get people with this skill.

He says there are about 36 Filipinos who drive buses in Lautoka and some of them are driving buses in Suva.

He says a few heavy duty mechanics were brought in as well to fix the buses.

Hazelman says there is a need to train Fijians quickly to be able to take these jobs.

He says jobs of these levels should not go to expatriates.

He says in other areas of work people are being brought in from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Samoa and Vanuatu.

Hazelman says there is quite a large number of foreigners in the hotel, building and construction industries.

He says this raises the question on whether the employers are training and upskilling their own people in these areas.

Hazelman says parents should look for opportunities in these markets for their children and advise them to be tile layers and painters and not just push them to be lawyers and doctors.

He says people do not want to take those jobs because they think it's dirty so expatriates come and take it from us.

Meanwhile, a member of the public had raised concerns that a lot of foreigners are in the country, and that one particular furniture company employs 16 Bangladeshi nationals.

He has asked if there were mechanisms in place to stop this.

Minister of Employment Jone Usamate says there is a particular process involved in granting work permits and such cases go through a screening committee in the Immigration department.

Usamate says there is a need for tertiary institutions to produce the kind of people that employers would want to hire.

He says when the Nadi Airport was built, tile layers from Samoa had to be brought in because there was a shortage of them in Fiji.

He says tertiary institutes need to produce the right kind of skilled people.

Pacific Specialist Healthcare
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