2 Mar 2005

American Samoa's attorney general continues crackdown on overstayers

4:29 pm on 2 March 2005

American Samoa's Attorney-General is continuing a crackdown on overstayers and says this will intensify over the coming weeks.

A total of 30 overstayers from China, the Philippines, South Korea, Tonga and Samoa have been deported in the last two weeks, and six more are to be deported tomorrow.

Sialega Malaetasi Togafau says the Immigration department has been too lax about enforcing the 30-day visas and cracking down on the overstayers is now a priority.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says the Attorney-General is also concerned about American Samoans who are sponsoring foreigners into the territory and seeing them stay illegally without doing anything about it.

She says the penalties are now being enforced for those involved in the scam.

"The fee per employee that is found working illegally, without authorisation from the Immigration Board, is 500 US dollars per person and a one thousand dollar penalty is also assessed on the employer for each person that they have employed without authorisation."

Monica Miller says it's believed that there are about one thousand overstayers in the territory.

She says a computerised immigration system is allowing authorities to more effectively track people staying illegally.