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Greg Rickford is the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. (House of Commons)

The federal government has hired a lawyer to examine tightening the enrolment guidelines of the Qalipu First Nation.

When the band was established, officials expected that 11,000 to 15,000 people would become members. Band officials have said that at least 60,000 people have now applied for membership in the 'landless' Mi'kmaq band.

The parliamentary secretary to the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Greg Rickford, said Fred Caron was hired to work with the band's new leadership to "explore appropriate measures to strengthen and make more clear the framework for intake."

Rickford would not say if any of the more than 20,000 people already accepted into the band could have their memberships revoked.

Ottawa has already appealed the applications of 59 people who were accepted into the band. The applications were from people who live outside of Newfoundland and Labrador.