13 Jan 2006

Marshall Islands vexed by issue of Chinese overstayers

8:11 am on 13 January 2006

Difficulties in dealing with long-term visa over-stayers from China continue to vex the Marshall Islands.

One criminal prosecution was dismissed yesterday against a Chinese national because she left the Marshall Islands more than a year after spending time in jail for prostitution.

But government prosecutor Jack Jorban says 2006 is the year for getting tough on visa-overstayers.

Mr Jorban says he has more than 20 more cases to file.

The Attorney General Posesi Bloomfield says the country's immigration law is about to be overhauled to make it easier to deport illegal aliens and to refuse entry to aliens without proper documentation.

A draft bill is expected to go to the parliament later this month to revise the current 22-year-old immigration law that Mr Bloomfield said made it very difficult and time consuming to deport over-stayers.

Mr Jorban said he wants to "clean up the place and in order to do that we need to stop the in-flow [of illegal aliens] and ensure there are no more over-stayers."