American Samoa’s biggest employer, StarKist Samoa is still in need of guest workers from Samoa.
This was confirmed in a request submitted to the Covid-19 Task Force for 200 workers who were approved for the program before travel was interrupted due to the first community case of Covid.
Talanei news reports that during a press conference of the Task Force, Chairman, Lt Governor Talauega Eleasalo Ale was asked about the status of StarKist’s request.
The cannery has been bringing in the guest workers by plane since Lady Naomi was prohibited from carrying passengers since the pandemic began in 2020.
The Task Force has now lifted the ban on passengers and the cannery hopes to bring the workers by boat.
Local residents and visitors from Samoa have found it difficult to meet the requirements of the TalofaPass registry. The local agents for Lady Naomi, Polynesia Shipping, says having a help desk in Apia would help travelers.
The Task Force Chairman said they plan to send a team to Apia to provide assistance.
In April, the American Samoa Government issued a statement reporting on 906 block permits were issued for potential guest workers, and to date, 772 guest workers were approved and are working in the territory.
“Of those who have arrived, two were returned to Samoa immediately, and five of the workers have had their sponsorship terminated by StarKist.”
Fainuulelei commended the Lemanu-Talauega Administration’s initiative to continue the Guest Worker Program to continue to operate before and after the COVID-19 community spread which in turn has provided employment opportunities to over 2,000 employees, and opportunities for many supporting businesses.
Attorney General Fainuulelei in his report says that 765 guest workers have signed agreement forms with the Immigration Division of the Department of Legal Affairs, StarKist, and their host families. Additionally, each worker has been issued Immigration Identifications (ID) for employment.