NATION

500 Fijians In Cook Islands In Limbo

$320 a week is paid to locals and foreign workers for three months as part of its Government COVID-19 initiative. This is scheduled to end at the end of the month.
07 Aug 2020 16:28
500 Fijians In Cook Islands In Limbo

The future of at least 500 Fijians working in the Cook Islands hangs in a limbo.

This is because the Cook Islands Government subsidy for loss of wages to foreign workers may cease at the end of the month.

Cook Islands announced a three-month wage subsidy of $320 a week for three months as part of their COVID-19 initiative. This covered local as well as foreign workers.

The three-month period ends at the end of the month.

A senior executive of the Fijians Community Association in the Cook Islands, Savenaca Tukitoba, said discussions were underway within the community to decide on a repatriation flight.

“A larger number of people are in the tourism sector and with the restrictions of travel, most of them have been affected,” he said.

“And tourism being a large part of the Cook Islands economy, other businesses would also be affected.”

He said the first thing they needed to do was establish the numbers who would want to return to Fiji and then find out if those wanting to return could afford it.

Fijians in the Cook Islands are employed in most sectors including government, health services and even the retail industry. But majority are in the hospitality sector.

Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Yogesh Karan said their office had not received any correspondence for a repatriation from the Cook Islands.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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