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Governor Lolo Moliga of American Samoa has authorised the reactivation of the Guest Worker Programme to address a labour shortage at StarKist Samoa.
The governor informed the General Manager of StarKist Samoa, Sangdong Kwon, that in light of the severe absenteeism challenge negatively affecting StarKist’s productivity and financial viability, along with the difficulty in finding replacement workers within the territory, “I hereby authorise the reactivation of the guest worker programme as defined by Chapter 9 Title 41 of the American Samoa Code Annotated.”
“This authority will continue as long as StarKist continues to face this chronic absenteeism and recruitment problem.”
The guest worker permit is limited to persons of Samoan ancestry, born in Samoa.
The governor was responding to a request made by StarKist officials at a meeting last week and documented in a letter from the StarKist General Manager dated January 8, requesting Governor Lolo to reactivate the guest worker programme.
With the guest worker permits, Samoan citizens are able to enter the territory for the specific purpose of working for StarKist Samoa.
The usual requirement that they reside in the territory for one year before being allowed to work is waived.
The governor told the StarKist Samoa GM to work with the Office of the Attorney General and Immigration to make sure all provisions of the law are complied with.
He said, “Given the adverse impact of the influx of guest workers on the resources, utilities, infrastructure and basic services of American Samoa, I ask that StarKist practice due diligence in utilising those individuals from Samoa who are already living in the territory and particularly with first preference recruitment of American Samoa nationals.”
StarKist Samoa started advertising for fish technicians earlier this week.
Questions emailed to StarKist Samoa about the number of employees they need and the percentage of workers who returned to their jobs after the holidays, have not been answered.
Before, employment at the local canneries was a popular option for Samoan citizens unable to find jobs in their country.
However, the seasonal work schemes offered by Australia and New Zealand to citizens of Samoa has provided another choice for workers from the independent state.
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