20 Sep 2011

No figures on Solomon Islands overstayers in Australia

7:31 am on 20 September 2011

The Solomon Islands prime minister is pleased that Australia has agreed to help encourage Solomon Island overstayers to return home.

Danny Philip asked the Australia prime minister, Julia Gillard, for help during the recent Pacific Islands Forum summit in Auckland.

Julia Gillard then agreed she'd look into the issue and be of assistance, promising such overstayers won't be ostracised.

A spokesperson for Mr Philp, David Tuhanuku, says it was an informal request and unexpected.

He says there are no official figures on the current number of Solomon Islanders overstaying in Australia.

"Maybe he's thinking about the issue of people being kept in detention centre, if they are found to be residing illegally in Australia. And maybe it was along the line of that thinking, that he did raise it with his Australian counterpart."