M.P.M.C. - The selection of non-Samoan citizens who are residing in the country under temporary arrangements but have expressed interest to become permanent residents as Samoan citizens entered a new era this week.
For the first time, the selection process for permanent residents is computerized with the inaugural on online selection draw, executed by officials to pick the 15 lucky future citizens.
The stakeholders witnessing the historical event include Chief Executive with the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, (M.P.M.C.), Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo, Assistant M.P.M.C. Chief Executive Siaopo Pese in charge of the Immigration Division, Police Superintendent, Tagaloa T. Matamu, Steffary M. Hunt from the Office of the Attorney General and immigration officials.
“The online selection draw replaces the manual drawing system which was affordable but had room for doubt and probable cause for concern,” noted M.P.M.C’s Chief Executive Agafili.
“With the computerized selection, it lifts the transparency and accountability of the selection process and it’s fair for all.
“Management has also taken into the consideration the remarkable increase in the number of non-Samoa residents who have expressed interest in citizenship and residence over the years.”
For this year, 73 non-Samoa residents have expressed interest. And from that pool, the online draw has picked15 non-Samoan citizens who are now a step away from becoming permanent residents and citizens as long as they meet the remaining criteria.
A reserve list of five has also been randomly selected in case one of the lucky 15 applicants fails to comply. A fee of $3.000 tala is mandatory.
“Prior to the computerized selection process, non-Samoa citizens who applied were considered on a first come, first served basis,” says Immigration Chief, Siaopo.
“But we now have a legitimate selection process,” he continued. “And even if awarded Samoan citizenship and residency in the country, there are provisions.
“For instance, if the new resident leaves and does not return in a one year period his or her Samoan citizenship status will be automatically cancelled.”
The 20 non-Samoa residents selected which includes the Reserve List will be submitted to Cabinet for consideration as a lead up to the official swearing in ceremony in the coming weeks.