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Government to provide $500,000 to extend Belize Amnesty Program

Posted: Sunday, June 18, 2023. 10:45 pm CST.

By Celeste Chang: The Briceno administration has decided to provide half a million dollars to extend the current amnesty program in Belize. Since this allocation was not budgeted, Prime Minister John Briceno took the budgetary request to the House of Representatives on Friday as part of the Supplemental Appropriations Bill.

The Belize Amnesty Program, was launched in August 2022, is a way to regularize the legal status immigrants who have resided in the country for a long time and to provide a safe pathway to residency for asylum seekers. The program has been extended a few times but the registration phase, implemented by the Refugee Department, ended on 31st March, 2023.

According to United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), a total of 11,352 individuals, including 900 asylum-seekers, had filed their applications for permanent residency as of 31st January, 2023. The Amnesty Program receives substantial support from the UNHCR and other partners especially as it is considered a substitute pathway to legalize the status of qualifying immigrants and asylum seekers in country.

The allocation of this half a million dollar fund and the extension of the Amnesty Program will facilitate the receipt of additional applications from bona-fide applicants. The Refugee Department, UNHCR and their partners are expected to continue to work together and provide support to applicants to assist in the registration process.

 

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