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Oct 11, 2017

Migration Policy, in 2 Years’ Time, Gives Greater Direction

Edmund Zuniga

Since the Auditor General’s Report 2011-2013 was completed, many questions remain unanswered as to aspects of the country’s migration plans and efforts. Belize does not at present have a comprehensive policy on migration, which would set out the country’s vision for addressing its role in business, tourism and with regard to refugee status. According to Immigration C.E.O. Edmund Zuniga, the work has begun on such a policy, but he told the Senate Committee today that there is a lot more work that needs to be done.

 

Edmund Zuniga, C.E.O., Ministry of Immigration and Nationality

“The biggest project on the table is the development of a comprehensive migration policy, which if we had that in place, a lot of the issues which were raised as questions in the Auditor General’s Reports would not have been questions, because there would have been clear guidance as to how the Ministry and the Department would have managed migration in Belize.”

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“Personally, I feel that is vital, that we need a migration policy, because we seem to respond to things when they happen and not necessarily based on a view of long-term goals; but in terms of this migration policy, is it something that has commenced, or is it only at this point where you feel that it is something you want to achieve? How far along are we with this?”

 

Edmund Zuniga

“We are in the early stages; we actually along with the International Organization on Migration (I.O.M.), have developed a first draft of a concept paper on how we see the policy developing. But it’s not something that can be developed in a short time and the timeframe that we are looking at, having discussed with I.O.M., is that we’re probably looking at twenty months to two years to have it fully completed.”

 

The I.O.M. has committed, but not fully finalized, plans to help raise money to complete the policy. The basics of the policy were discussed among a group of relevant C.E.O.’s of government ministries.

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