30 Mar 2009

Rule to be amended in American Samoa to allow foreign workers access to the docks

6:02 am on 30 March 2009

The U.S. Coast Guard has amended a rule in American Samoa which would have had significant impact on foreign workers needing access to the main dock in American Samoa.

The new measure goes into effect on April 14 and would have required all persons entering secure areas of the dock to obtain special clearance by way of a US visa.

The rule known as TWIC or Transportation Worker Identification Credential would have presented a problem for the majority of workers in American Samoa who are foreigners.

The territory issues its own immigration clearance for foreign employees and there is no mechanism for the issuance of US visas in the Territory.

Local stevedoring companies, wholesalers, fishing boat owners, the canneries and other importers had raised their concerns over the measure.

The US Coast Guard says it has now submitted to the Federal Register a rule to amend provisions of the TWIC relating to American Samoa.

The Coast Guard says that while the Territory is part of the US, it is not currently included in the definition of "United States" for purposes of the Immigration and Nationality Act.