EXPATRIATES IN RELATIONSHIPS WARNED TO MARRY OR LEAVE SAMOA

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APIA, Samoa (October 2, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Expatriates living in unsanctioned partner relationships in Samoa are being asked to marry quickly or leave the country.

Secretary to Government Vaasatia Komiti says although there is no Immigration Act law that addresses the matter, there has been a government policy in place for several years that encourages foreigners living with local women to "tie the knot."

Local media reports say a significant number of foreigners with Samoan partners have been notified to either marry or leave.

Up to 3,000 expatriates, mostly Australians and New Zealanders, now residing in Samoa live with local partners, many of whom depend on the foreigners for family financial support.

Angry expatriates say that once residency and work permits have been granted, marital status is none of the government's business.

Samoa does not recognize either defacto or homosexual partner relationships.

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