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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (July 21, 2001 – Marshall Islands Journal)---The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is conducting an investigation into non-Marshallese businesses that may be violating alien labor, foreign investment permits and local business license regulations.

"We need to be more aggressive" in checking non-Marshallese businesses, said Foreign Minister Gerald Zackios. "Obviously, there’s been an influx of non-Marshallese people doing business in the Marshalls," he said. "Our concern is that there may be a lot that are not legally doing business or residing in the Marshall Islands."

Secretary Marie Maddison indicated that the Foreign Ministry’s labor and immigration divisions are checking with other agencies involved in supervising alien businesses and workers -- including the Attorney General’s office, Majuro Atoll Local Government and Social Security -- on the status of alien-operated companies.

"It’s too loose right now," she said, adding that she’s aware of some cases where foreigners came in on visitor’s visas and then started businesses or got jobs.

She also said that although the RMI had directed that the Uliga Dock be the only pick up and drop off point for sailors and fishermen from the vessels using Majuro for tuna transshipment, this is frequently being violated by the ships, which send their boats, and in some cases, helicopters, directly to the Outrigger hotel and other locations.

Zackios said the Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the other agencies was working "to get more organized and to do the legwork" needed to supervise and enforce the laws regarding alien workers and businesses in the RMI.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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