28 Sep 2015

Application bottleneck results in Kiribati squatters

1:20 pm on 28 September 2015

A backlog of applications to lease land in Kiribati has forced some people into squatting for more than a decade.

Squatter settlements are a persistent issue in the country, and last year about 300 people were reportedly arrested for living illegally on Kiritimati Island.

An urban planning advisor for Volunteer Services Abroad, Shifani Sood, says a change in the application process 15 years ago created a bottleneck and people have settled illegally on land while waiting for approval.

"You've got a bit of a dilemma where there's a big backlog, these people have applied but it just hasn't gone through the system as yet and part of my role was to get that going and clear that backlog."

Shifani Sood says a system has been set up to process the applications as well as a map of where squatters are located.

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