19 Sep 2011

Solomon Islanders overstaying in Australia not likely to leave voluntarily

8:03 pm on 19 September 2011

It's uncertain whether many Solomon Islanders illegally in Australia would take up any offer to voluntarily leave.

The Solomon Islands prime minister says some overstayers have been in Australia for up to ten years, but want to return home.

Danny Philip had asked his Australian counterpart during the recent Pacific Islands Forum summit to let overstayers freely return back to the Solomons without reprimand.

But our correspondent in Honiara, Richard Toke, says he knows of people who have found jobs, are earning more than they ever would back in the Solomons, and now consider themselves settled.

"Well for some of them, they've chosen to live there now and they are just scared to get caught, so they change their name. And Australia is their home now."

Richard Toke