12 Nov 2009

American Samoa court says foreign workers must return home

11:15 am on 12 November 2009

American Samoa's District Court has called on the government to make sure all foreign workers who entered the territory under the Guest Work Permit scheme are returned to their home country, as required by law.

The Guest Worker Permit requires that workers, mainly for the canneries are returned after their work permit has expired, or when they are no longer needed.

However the District Court's Judge, John Ward, found during a hearing for three citizens of Samoa, who entered under the permit scheme to work for COS Samoa Packing, that the men never left the territory when the cannery officially closed on September 30.

The three men appeared in court on charges of public peace disturbance.

Judge Ward told prosecutors that it's the government's responsibility to ensure that all workers are returned to their home country after their employment in the territory ends.