30 Jan 2007

Cook Islands government moves to amend Entry and Departure Act

4:15 pm on 30 January 2007

The Cook Islands Immigration Minister, Wilkie Rasmussen, says an amended Entry and Departure Act is expected to be presented to parliament by mid year.

He says there will be some consultation but work is already under way on drafting a paper on the changes which could be available by the end of February.

Mr Rasmussen says there has been public concern voiced over the number of overstayers in the country.

"Businesses in the Cook Islands and Cook Islanders, or people who live in the Cook Islands, who bring in workers under a scheme of labour recruitment, also needs to be brought under some better regulatory regime so that they don't easily abuse those regulations."

Mr Rasmussen says part of the work will also include looking at how to define who is a Cook Islander.

The minister says there are several different definitions in place through a number of acts so that needs to be resolved.