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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (December 28, 2001 – The Marshall Islands Journal)---The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has warned local businesses and government agencies that alien workers who have reached the end of their contracts must be sent home -- even if their contracts are to be renewed.

In a memo, Foreign Secretary Marie Maddison said that "there are numerous alien workers without authorized contracts and/or proper work permits."

She said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aiming for coordination of the recruitment and repatriation of alien workers. The "alien worker" designation does not apply to Americans and the Freely Associated States.

"If you intend to terminate contracted personnel," Maddison wrote to local business and government officials, "they need to be repatriated -- even if their contracts are to be renewed. These regulations are safeguards that may be costly at this time, but they will be cost effective for the government and its people in the long run."

Maddison noted that the usual duration for a contract is two years. She said that contracts can be extended, provided there are no qualified Marshallese workers to fill the posts.

A Division of Labor and Industrial Relations information sheet on extending alien work permits says that after a business files for an extension, an Employment Service Officer shall make a finding as to whether:

The burden is upon (the business applying for an extension) "to prove that you have fulfilled or made bona fide efforts" to meet the terms of the non-resident employment agreement.

Only the Secretary of Foreign Affairs can approve extensions to work permits.

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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