16 Apr 2005

Pago Pago scene for second round of inter-Samoa immigration talks

7:35 am on 16 April 2005

The second round of immigration talks between the Samoa and American Samoa governments continues today in Pago Pago.

Samoa has sent the same delegation, which took part in the first meeting in Apia more than a week ago.

Samoa's delegation is headed by the prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who's also in charge of the country's immigration.

Today's meeting will tie up initial talks, before Samoa introduces new permit requirements for American Samoans to enter Samoa on the first of May.

Previously, American Samoans had been able to enter Samoa without a visa.

Samoa's new immigration procedures are seen as a reaction to the US territory tightening up its own entry procedures in March for citizens of Samoa.

The American Samoa Attorney-General, Sialega Malaetasi Togafau, who's also responsible for the territory's immigration policies, tightened the existing 14-day permit procedure to crack down on Samoans overstaying in the territory.

The talks have so far identified the need to formalise travel arrangements along lines beneficial to both Samoas.