The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo, has assured that overstayers from Bangladesh and Greece will be deported in accordance with immigration laws.
Agafili was asked for an explanation after the Samoa Observer obtained a letter he wrote to the Parole Board where he highlights concerns about the immigration status of one Mohammad Saifal, 24, of Bangladesh and Nicolas Gianno, 37, of Greece.
“Saifal entered Samoa on a resident permit for employment issued on January 1, 2015, to work in Samoa as a sewing machine operator for Landlord Appeals (Samoa-Bangladesh) Ltd,” the letter reads.
“The work permit expired on May 8, 2016. He committed an indecent act on a 14-year-old girl and was sentenced on January 25, 2016 and to date he remains in jail without a valid permit.”
Regarding Gianno, he came to Samoa as a visitor and stayed with his fiancé at Leulumoega. He was supposed to depart Samoa, however he was refused departure due to an order issued by the Court and to date he is in Samoa without a valid permit.
Agafili explained there is an immigration process in place regarding the two individuals who have been convicted and are currently serving term in prison.
“In these cases, the Samoa Immigration work collaboratively with the Prisons Parole Board when considering granting of deportation orders as required under the Immigration Act."
“This is to make sure that the authority of the Court that imposed the sentence is respectfully upheld."
“What that means is that if the Parole Board decides to grant these individuals parole, we will immediately issue them deportation orders.”
The C.E.O. told the Samoa Observer they have worked closely with organisational partners to facilitate deportation of these foreign nationals.
“In terms of over stayers, those who are captured on our Border Management System (B.M.S.) are dual citizens who have foreign passports but were born in Samoa."
“We have been tracking them on the B.M.S. and follow up on their locations and remove them from the system when they leave the country."
“Many of them have overstayed the 60 days (now 90 days) required for entry permit."
“For foreign nationals who have been issued permits to reside and work in Samoa, the Samoa Immigration continues to follow up with their sponsors on the conditions of their permits particularly when the permits are about to expire."
“There are also spot checks that the Ministry conducts from time to time on the individuals' residences and work places as required under the Immigration Act."
“The sponsors and the foreign nationals are informed by the immigration by letter on the conditions of their permits, and many have reapplied for extension."
“Those found to have breached the conditions of their permits have been issued deportation orders and removed from the country."
“The sponsors are required to pay for their return tickets. We have been doing that until to date.”