Foreign Agents Under Spotlight

Oct. 3, 2017, 6:03 a.m.

Foreign Agents Under Spotlight

The Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB) is now liaising closely with stakeholders to crack down on overseas real estate companies operating here illegally.

The presence of foreign agents working in Fiji without proper licensing approval has been an ongoing issue that was also highlighted at the REALB’s first national workshops in 2016, and the Board has tightened measures by meeting with senior representatives from the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit (FFIU), Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority (FRCA), Fiji Law Society, Investment Fiji, Government’s Immigration Department and the Fiji Police Force.

REALB chairman, Dr Abdul Hassan noted that foreign real estate agents often arrive on tourist visas but pursued real estate-related activities for the duration of their visit by meeting with clients and arranging sale transactions without obtaining necessary approval from the Board.

“Under the current national laws, anyone carrying out real estate activities must be licensed.”

Dr Hassan highlighted that foreigners interested in establishing needed to meet specific requirements and primarily, approval from agencies such as Investment Fiji and the Immigration Department, which is mandatory.

“Stakeholders attending the meeting agreed that there must be increased awareness in the industry on the issues raised and that more collaboration and partnerships is expected between these agencies in the coming months.”

A Memorandum of Understanding is already in place with FRCA, while similar arrangements have been established with other regulatory agencies such as the Fiji Commerce Commission, Investment Fiji and the Fiji Financial Intelligence Unit.

As the statuary agency, responsible for granting real estate agent’s licenses and the approval of salespersons and branch managers, REALB also holds disciplinary powers to suspend and cancel licenses if laws and regulations are breached.

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