By Anish Chand
A total of three thousand 815 foreign nationals were granted Fiji citizenship for three and a half years between October 2014 and February 2018.
Out of this, Australians top4ped the list as the most number of foreign nationals who applied for a Fiji citizenship.
1140 Australians became Fiji citizens between October 2014 to February 2018.
The breakdown per year for Australians are as follows; 2014 (84), 2015 (320), 2016 (308), 2017 (311) and for the first two months of 2018 (117)
591 New Zealanders sought Fiji citizenship between October 2014 to February 2018.
The Fijian Government also offered citizenship to 585 persons which they described to be “stateless”
“Stateless” is defined by the Fijian Immigration to be children of Fiji citizens who were born abroad but didn’t qualify for a passport from their country of birth.
334 Americans, 242 Chinese, 175 Indians and Canadians, 103 British and 82 South Koreans make up the top ten countries from where foreigners sought Fiji citizenship between October 2014 to February 2018.
17 Pakistani nationals became Fiji citizens in this period. The highest of 13 applications were approved in 2017.
From the region, 30 Tongans, 26 i-Kiribati, 20 Papua New Guineans, 20 Solomon Islanders and 18 Samoans became Fiji citizens between October 2014 and February 2018.
In 2009, the interim Fiji Government started offering dual nationality and permits to ex-Fiji citizens under the Citizenship of Fiji Decree 2009 to re-apply for Fiji citizenship.
Former Fiji citizens who have become naturalised citizens of another country could apply for Fiji citizenship with the two main purposes of enticing Fiji Diaspora to return and invest in Fiji and to return and retire at home.
Between October 2014 and February 2018, 763 Australian citizenship also took up Fiji citizenship under this dual citizenship offer.
342 New Zealanders, 180 Americans and 117 Canadians were granted dual citizenship in this period.
The Immigration Department also issued Fiji passports to foreign nationals after they went through a registration and naturalization process to become a Fiji citizen.
741 foreign nationals were issued Fiji passports between October 2014 and February 2018.
Out of this, 271 were New Zealanders, 126 Australians, 84 Chinese, 47 Americans, 33 British and 27 Indians.
Three from Pakistan and five from the United Arab Emirates were issued Fiji passports during this period.