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   Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Fiji UK Mission Assisting Fijians in the British Army

Fiji_UK_Mission_Assisting_Fijians_in_British_Army24th July 2012: Fiji’s High Commissioner in London Mr. Solo Mara and his team have been extending a helping hand to assist Fijians in the British Army especially those to be made redundant as the Army moves to reduce its numbers.

The implementation of the second tranche of redundancy within the Ministry of Defense [MOD] sees a total of 250 Fijians listed for redundancy. There are still to be three more redundancy tranches to be announced by the MOD between now and 2014. The Defense Secretary Philip Hammond has stated in the House of Commons that the cuts are expected to be realized in those regiments having a high number of Commonwealth soldiers. It is estimated that 70% of those made redundant had volunteered for the programme and will be retrained for another 6 months for resettlement into Civilian life. For those that did not volunteer for redundancy the programme will be effective after 12 months, and this is sufficient according to the Army’s calculation for new marketable skills in the civilian world to be learnt. The first batch of redundancy will be realized in January 2013.

High Commissioner Solo Mara is working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the negotiation with UK Immigration Authorities on the regularization of visas of our nationals affected by the redundancy and who opt to settle in the UK.

Meanwhile the High Commissioner is also working closely with the Fiji Support Network Committee (FSN), which comprised British Army Officers of Fijian ancestry. The High Commissioner recently invited to a FSN meeting in Colchester UK where he discussed cooperation between the High Commission and the organisation.  FSN was launched in July 2010 and act as a channel of communication between the MOD and Fijians in the British Army and also function to inform Fijian nationals on policies and regulations that affect them as Foreign & Commonwealth (F&C) Servicemen.The successful meeting also saw the High Commissioner assuming the position of patron of the FSN. The first activity to be mounted by the High Commission and the Fiji Support Network Committee will be an Investment and Cultural Symposium to be held in October.

(Photo caption: FSN Committee meeting HE Mr. Mara and team)