2 Jun 2004

Marshall Islands cracks down on Chinese overstayers

10:15 am on 2 June 2004

The Marshall Islands Immigration Department is clamping down on Chinese nationals who have violated their 30-day visitor visas.

Our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says the problem seems to be as a result of an earlier scheme to sell Marshall Islands passports to foreigners which led to poorly controlled migration from China.

He says enforcing the law has been a problem, but the attorney general's office is now cracking down on migrants staying beyond the visitor visa term.

Giff Johnson says there are currently about 300 overstayers who are Chinese nationals.

"There's been a very serious problem, primarily of chinese nationals from the people's republic of china, who have overstayed their visitor visas. Over the past six months, the government, through its attorney general's office, has been trying to start prosecuting to basically try to clean it up."

Giff Johnson says the attorney general's office has stepped up prosecuting cases, in a bid to get them back to China.