PNG Chief Migration Officer warns Melanesian overstayers

PNG Chief Migration Officer Solomon Kantha. Picture: POST COURIER

PORT MORESBY, 31 MAY 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – People from countries in the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) are eligible to stay in PNG for 60 days without a visa, but will be penalised if they overstayed, an official says.

Chief Migration Officer Solomon Kantha, however, warned that overstayers would face deportation or fines depending on the number of days they had breached their visa.

He said the fine ranged from K3000 to K10,000 (US$920 – US$3,074).

“Melanesians eligible for MSG visa are subject to the same conditions as other foreigners,” he said.

“All foreigners are subject to the Migration Act. They may be prosecuted based on the nature of the visa breach.

“They will also be excluded from re-entry depending on the period of overstay.

“Immigration can also charge a foreigner for unlawfully residing in the country, and those aiding or harbouring an unlawful foreigner.”

Kantha was responding to reports that people from MSG countries were overstaying and working illegally in PNG.

The MSG nations are Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, PNG and New Caledonia.

Kantha had earlier revealed that they were looking for Solomon Islands singer Samson Saeni to be questioned over illegally staying in PNG for three years.

He said the singer, popularly known as Sharzy, had been performing in the country.

Kantha said Saeni last entered the country on Jan 28, 2015, and was issued a Melanesian Spearhead Group visa valid for 60 days.

“However, he overstayed his visa and was unlawfully residing and doing business in PNG,” he said.

“He has been on our alert system since September 2016. “We have been trying to locate him,” he said.