Although primarily an emigration country, Cuba is also increasingly faced with irregular immigration flows from Haiti and other countries. Between 1988 and 2003, 19,905 Haitians landed involuntarily on Cuban shores due to bad weather and precarious vessels used during the journey towards the United States. The 2004 and 2005 Haitian crisis and hurricanes put additional pressure on the island's transit camps.
In order to tackle this humanitarian issue within a constructive and coordinated framework, Cuba, Haiti and IOM signed a tripartite agreement in February 2002. According to the agreement, IOM coordinates with the Haitian and Cuban governments the organization and effective transfer of those Haitians deciding to return to their country, as well as the mobilization of resources to support voluntary returns.
IOM and the government are exploring possibilities to use Cuban expertise in the area of medical service and training as part of IOM development initiatives. Activities are also underway to determine the potential involvement of IOM in regular and organized exchange of Cuban workers with other countries.