Ministry of Immigration Sheds Light on Belize’s Refugee Assistance Efforts

Ministry of Immigration Sheds Light on Belize’s Refugee Assistance Efforts

World Refugees Day is celebrated on June 20, but this year the Ministry of Immigration chose to honor refugees today. The Immigration Department held a press conference to discuss and educate Belizeans on the work they do to assist and support refugees in Belize. Refugees are classified as persons who are forced to flee their home country due to modern warfare, persecution, social and economic challenges and natural disasters. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Immigration, Dr. Gilroy Middleton, explained that contrary to belief Belize has a low number of refugees.

Dr. Gilroy Middleton, CEO, Ministry of Immigration: “Additional requirement or policy have been placed on Jamaicans.”

Reporter: Now I would imagine since the discussion was raised that this hasn’t deterred these activities from continuing. 

Dr. Gilroy Middleton, CEO, Ministry of Immigration:“Well what we’re working on right now is internal communications. Communicating with the other security forces, communicating with the airline companies even internal communications within the government communicating with Ministry of Civil Aviation which falls under Blue Economy, communicating with Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora from a regional level.”

Reporter: Would you be able to give us any update on the new passport system since it was launched ? My understanding is that there is some backlog issues, that dreaded backlog conversation that continues to plague the ministry.

Dr. Gilroy Middleton, CEO, Ministry of Immigration:“Well in terms of the new passport system it’s up and running. We’ve gotten several positive posts not only from the new passport system but also from the customer service that our customers have been receiving in the simplest sense.”

Dr. Middleton further explained that this year’s numbers were affected by the government’s amnesty program. He says that a significant number of applicants are being vetted.

Dr. Gilroy Middleton, CEO, Ministry of Immigration:“This year the numbers have been down in reference to the amnesty program we have some 12,765 applications in process of which some 700 are asylum seekers or asylum seekers that were recommended for refugee status but weren’t confirmed. So to some degree that’s 7,700 individuals were moved over to the amnesty program hence we have some 220 confirmed refugees in Belize and 18 asylum seekers waiting to be processed. We’re looking at children that were left behind in terms of smuggling o trafficking and they’re being cared for by the state in terms of the human development office, recommendations from CEO of Human Development so that would be one. Second one would be asylum seekers who had applied for refugee status prior to the border closing in 2020 so asylum seekers from post 2020. Then we’re looking at individuals who have been working in Belize for more than five years irregularly, we’re looking at individuals who are married to Belizeans but they’re here in an irregular status. We’re looking at individuals who are in a common law relationship with Belizeans again in irregular status. We’re looking at individuals who have a Belizean child. So from those specific perspectives.”

This year’s theme for World Refugee Day is, “Hope away from Home, A world where refugees are always included”.

Related post

Tensions Rise at Dangriga Town Council: Mayor and Administrator at Odds

Tensions Rise at Dangriga Town Council: Mayor and Administrator…

Over the past week, there’s been a situation brewing at the Dangriga Town Council between Mayor Robert Mariano and Town Administrator…
Belizean Man Arrested in Guatemala Drug Raid; Large Haul of Contraband Seized

Belizean Man Arrested in Guatemala Drug Raid; Large Haul…

A Belizean man, 37-year-old, Matthew Mayers Dowie, is in police custody over in Melchor de Mencos, Peten, Guatemala following a drug…
BEL Sends Linemen to Aid Jamaica in Hurricane Beryl Recovery Efforts

BEL Sends Linemen to Aid Jamaica in Hurricane Beryl…

The Belize Electricity Limited is responding to Jamaica’s call for technical support in restoring its power infrastructure which was damaged by…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *