2 Oct 2002

American Samoa revises residency qualifications for aliens

10:28 am on 2 October 2002

The American Samoa House of Representatives has endorsed several changes to immigration laws, including reducing by half the time it will take to qualify for permanent residency.

Under the changes, which are sponsored by the Governor and have already been passed by the Senate, aliens will qualify for permanent residency after ten years in the Territory.

The existing law grants permanent residency to people of good moral character and for whom deportation would be a hardship.

The hardship consideration is now to be removed but eligibility expanded to include any person married to an American Samoan or a U.S. citizen, or those who have an American Samoan or American parent.

Other changes see the Immigration Board coming under the control of the Attorney General, a lift in the numbers granted permanent residency each year to 50, and for a group of 300 who had applied prior to this year to be considered outside the quota.