Immigration demands clean police records
Foreigners looking to invest in Samoa must provide a clean police record from their previous country of stay in order to be eligible for entry permit into Samoa.
That's the message from the Immigration Office in response to concerns some foreign investors with shady pasts are allowed to set up businesses in Samoa without being checked.
“A foreigner who seeks to enter or invest in the country, must provide clearance report from the Police and those are the documents the Immigration considers to determine whether a permit is granted or not," says Assistant Chief Immigration Officer, Siaopo Pese, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.
“We don’t just issue a permit to anyone trying to enter our borders; there are certain requirements, under the immigration act."
Siaopo admitted that concerns about foreign investors with criminal pasts being allowed into Samoa are valid.
“Of course that is a concern, however we investigate thoroughly on how legit the police clearance and police reports that is submitted with the applications for permits or citizenship.”
Siaopo said that in the event that a foreigner with a criminal past has been allowed to set up business in Samoa, he said Samoa Immigration is not at fault.
“If there is such a case the Samoa Immigration should not be blamed. The country in which the Police report was issued is at fault.
“We see permit applications on the daily basis and spotting a fake police report is what we are trained to detect and again, the clearances and reports have the seal of that country and its government.
“And unless someone reports it to us we wouldn’t know, as so far what we have seen are legitimate documents,” explained Siaopo.
Last week, Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labor (MCIL) made it clear that a foreign investor who was previously convicted of an offence abroad will not be allowed to register a business in Samoa.
The MCIL said foreigners with criminal records in other countries, moving to Samoa to set up businesses are prohibited under the law.
“All of the requirements for each step are to be renewed on an annual basis and this is another way to monitor the operations of these foreign owned businesses.
“All Foreign investment enterprise as one of the conditions of their Foreign investment certificate are required to be in compliance with all other national laws.
“Once an investor/business breaches any of the aforementioned law their certificate/license/permit will be revoked,” says MCIL.