3 May 2004

Samoa tightens its borders

6:57 am on 3 May 2004

New measures have been introduced to tighten Samoa's borders and fend off unwanted migrants.

The new laws came into force at the weekend and create a new permanent resident permit.

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele, says the new permit will allow the government to more tightly control the number and sort of people who want to live in Samoa permanently.

A spokesman for the Samoan prime minister, Auseuga Poloma Komiti, says criteria for migrants has yet to be established:

"Cabinet has yet to decide, but it would be based on the needs, as we see it, of our Samoa. And if for example we said that ten was the number, the quota for this year, then the top ten applicants would be the ones that were approved."

Mr Komiti says Samoa currently needs IT personnel, but the government's priorities may change.

He says the policy will help the visitor to Samoa, and ensure that what he calls the undesirables are kept out.