20 Dec 2017

Samoa parliament increases temporary visa period

4:46 pm on 20 December 2017

A Samoan MP is worried that an increase in the period people can stay under a visitor visa, could be used by refugees.

Parliament passed an amendment bill under urgency on Tuesday which will increase the period for staying under such a visa from 60 to 90 days.

But Independent MP Olo Fiti Va'ai was concerned and said the increase could lead to some visitors entering the country as refugees.

Apia, Samoa.

Apia, Samoa. Photo: Ramunas/123RF

Olo said the government should've considered a decrease to 30 days.

He said Samoa should also protect other neighbouring countries from being a haven for refugees.

But Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, said the Pacific Trans-National Crimes Unit, which monitors the region, is in the government building so people should not be worried.

The Prime Minister said the main purpose of the amendment was to fulfil international agreements where Samoans can enter some European countries without visas.

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