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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 1, 2001 – Fiji’s Daily Post)---The exodus of Indo-Fijians that gained impetus after the two military coups of 1987 gathered a new momentum after the 19 May civilian takeover last year.

Research hints that the decline in the country's Indian population that was registered by the 1996 census will continue.

It is very likely that the rate will increase. According to the Bureau of Statistics, a total of 4,116 Indo-Fijians have migrated overseas from May 2000 to February this year. And the trend suggests that this rate will increase.

This time around there are new factors, such as more Indians have marketable skills for which there is a growing demand overseas. Unlike in 1987, this time around many Indians also have established families overseas; there is a network that can help those Indians who migrate find jobs and enable them to adjust to a new social environment. The figures indicate that Fiji will continue, therefore, to lose large number of skilled professionals and technical-related workers.

However, another new trend that cannot be ignored is the outflow of the indigenous Fijians. A total of 436 indigenous Fijians have sought migration from May last year to February this year. Obviously, these members of the Fijian community are moving away for greener pastures.

It is expected that those Fijians who settle abroad will attract their close relatives. This movement, according to a Fijian politician, is a matter of concern to Fijian leadership here at home. However, as the figure stands at 436 it is not likely that the Fijian population will decline.

The findings also suggest that those indigenous Fijians who migrate are professionals and are highly skilled workers.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/FijiLive.

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