By Aaron Humes: According to the Immigration Department, the twice-postponed census due next May will not affect, and in some ways mutually benefit, their amnesty program of illegal residents.
The census, according to Director of Nationality and Passports Services Mario Arzu, counts who are here already and so the Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB), one of the Immigration Department’s partners in the amnesty program, will be able to share much-needed information about the status of refugees and migrants – where they are living, working – and thus help set policy on these issues.
CEO Dr Gilroy Middleton added that the information provided by the amnesty program would not be made available before January 2023.
Arzu made note that at least 15 bodies are stakeholders in the “monumental task” of the amnesty program recently approved by the Government of Belize. A meeting has been scheduled for the first week of January to help sort the way forward, including fellow Government Ministries and Departments, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization of Migration (IOM), various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) especially those working in the rural areas, and also the press.