UN Migration Agency to Support Belize Develop New Migration Policy

Migration Policy

Belize City – The Government of Belize and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, jointly held the launch of a National Migration and Development Policy for Belize this week (16/05).

The development of the national policy will be led by the Government of Belize through a Steering Committee chaired by the Department of Immigration and Nationality Services. In developing the policy, the Government of Belize requested technical assistance from IOM in 2016; a steering committee was formulated in 2017 to work on drafting the policy framework and to ensure that the policy is aligned with the Government’s development strategy and national vision.

The latest data indicate that emigrants as a percentage of the Belizean population stand at 15 per cent, with the United States as the primary destination; while immigrants represent 15.3 per cent of the total population in the country, coming mainly from Central America.

IOM will be responsible for the overall coordination and facilitation of the project. In its first year, IOM will support the development of critical documents that will serve as a basis for the development of the policy. IOM is building the capacity of key stakeholders to develop and enact policies and programmes on migration and development.

This last goal is achieved in partnership with Galen University utilizing both on-site and virtual courses.

“Migration policy is not a matter for only the Immigration Department.  It is a matter for everyone, the State and society at large,” explained Edmund Zuniga, Chief Executive Officer at the Belizean Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration. “If you really think about it, migration touches the very lives of each and every one of us in some way or the other.”

At Wednesday’s launch, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Godwin Hulse, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration and Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean.

Pisani noted that “this project is part of IOM’s larger objective of responding to the needs of governments regarding migration and development. We've had similar exercises in the region, such as in the Dominican Republic and Panama, where IOM supported both countries in 2017 with the process of developing their national policies on migration.”

This project is part of IOM’s mission to promote safe, regular and orderly migration in the region.

For more information please contact Rene Chuc at IOM Belize, Tel: +501 223 9500, Email: rchuc@iom.int

  • 15 per cent of Belizeans live abroad and 15,3 per cent of Belize’s population are immigrants, mostly Central Americans. Photo: IOM