16 Sep 2004

Six hundred Fiji overstayers want citizenship

6:15 am on 16 September 2004

More than 600 overstayers from Kiribati and Tuvalu who have been staying in Fiji illegally want to be granted citizenship.

The Daily Post reports that their concern has been raised with the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, during his current visit to the Northern Division.

People from Banaba or Ocean Island in Kiribati have been staying on Rabi Island in Fiji since the Second World War.

People from Tuvalu have been staying on nearby Kioa Island.

Their representatives have told Mr Qarase that the 620 overstayers want the government to waive all immigrations fees and charges and grant them blanket citizenship.

Their spokesman and Kioa Island Council chairman, Alfred Kisamy, says they are good people who want their immigration status legalised.

About 10 per cent of the population on the two islands are illegal immigrants.