Amnesty Program Grants Permanent Residency to Over 12,000 Migrants
Next year, over twelve thousand migrants from thirty -two different countries will receive permanent residency through the government’s amnesty program. Today, the Ministries of Immigration, Labor and Local Government announced that applications for 12,765 migrants are currently at the vetting stage with the processing of security clearance. The government says that they have issued valid “white” Amnesty Program receipts that are legal document entitling migrants to remain in Belize, and to work in Belize until a final decision is made on their application. The initiative sought to regularize forty thousand migrants but fell short of that goal. The low number was despite an extension of the application deadline and outreach programs by the International Office of Migration (IOM) Belize. The organization held country-wide mobile clinics to assist applicants but, according to the IOM’s Head of Office, Diana Locke, there were several reasons for the low outcome.
The government added that seventeen of the eighteen Amnesty Registration centres countrywide have been closed and says that only the Belmopan Amnesty office remains open for processing.