Costa Rican authorities announced the creation of a special humanitarian migratory category for Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Cubans living in that country and those who have been denied refugee status.
The deputy director of Migration, Daguer Hernandez, said that the objective of this measure is to assure that people whose refugee application was rejected do not fall into a situation of greater vulnerability. They can now continue to live in Costa Rica on a regular basis.
“This category is so that besides refuge, these people can access a migratory category that allows them to continue with their lives as is in Costa Rica,” explained the official.
This special category may be granted for a period of two-years, extendable for equal periods. The migratory resolution was published Thursday in the official newspaper the Gazette. Beneficiaries will be free to carry out any paid work activity, on their own or in a dependent relationship.
People who qualify for this special category are those denied refugee status as of January 1, 2016, and who have physically remained in Costa Rica on a regular or irregular basis until before March 18, 2020.
The petitioners must provide documents that prove that they are settled in Costa Rica. Likewise, that they do not have a criminal record in this country or any other.
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Raquel Vargas: “a differentiated approach”
The resolution signed by the Director of Immigration, Raquel Vargas, indicates that “the current situation in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba prompts the Costa Rican State to carry out a differentiated approach to the migratory situation.”
“The foregoing implies the obligation to take material and legal actions providing the required assistance and attention. This, in light of the human rights of people who migrate,” the document states.
Additionally, the resolution adds that “the implementation of a complementary protection system that gives them the possibility of legally remaining in the country, with a focus on humanitarian reasons, is considered appropriate.”
In recent years, Costa Rica has received constant flows of Nicaraguan, Venezuelan and Cuban migrants.
In the case of Nicaraguans, it is a situation that has occurred throughout history. Peaks in migration at certain periods have taken place for economic and political reasons. The last of which stemmed from the violent repression of protests against the Ortega government in 2018.
This crisis caused the migration to Costa Rica of at least 60,000 Nicaraguans, according to official estimates.
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Costa Rica is a country of 5 million inhabitants where around 10% of the population are immigrants, the majority Nicaraguans, according to official data.
Venezuelans and Cubans
In the case of refugees coming from Venezuela and Cuba, the Costa Rican government also considered protecting people fleeing from the dictatorships of Nicolas Maduro and Miguel Diaz Canel, respectively.
As for Venezuelans, Costa Rica has received important migratory flows since 2014. The South Americans flee their country due to its ongoing economic, social and political crisis.
The document points out the deep concern over the use of the punitive power of the Venezuelan State to deter, punish or impede the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and social and political participation.
Meanwhile, regarding Cuba, Costa Rica quoted the findings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The IACHR said Cuba is the only county in the hemisphere in which there are no guarantees of any kind for the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and association.
Nicaragua-Costa Rica labor agreement for 20,000 workers
On November 6, the governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica signed a binational labor agreement. Under it, more than 20,000 Nicaraguans can travel to the neighboring country to work temporarily on agricultural farms.
The agreement comes at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has the world on edge. Rosario Murillo, vice president, wife and spokesperson for the Ortega regime said Nicaraguan workers will be able to travel to Costa Rica “protected by laws on their health.”
The “Binational Agreement to Regulate the Temporary Hiring of Nicaraguan Workers in Costa Rica” was signed on the border by Nicaraguan Foreign Minister, Denis Moncada, and the Costa Rican Deputy Minister for Multilateral Affairs, Rodolfo Solano Quiroz.
According to the agreement, Nicaragua will facilitate the hiring of workers to travel temporarily to Costa Rican for employment purposes.
For its part, Costa Rica will guarantee Nicaraguan workers compliance with “their human, labor, health, social security and hygiene, occupational safety and biosafety during their entry, stay in (Costa Rican) territory and return to Nicaragua.”
Migration of Nicaraguans to Costa Rica in search of work is frequent. However, cross-border passage is severely restricted due to the pandemic.
Nicaraguan workers are expected to travel to Costa Rica in the coming weeks for the coffee harvest. This will last into the beginning months of 2021 when the season ends.
The method of worker recruitment in Nicaragua and their transport to farms from the Costa Rican border was not disclosed.
More than half a million citizens native of Nicaragua reside in Costa Rica. It is one of the main destinations for Nicaraguan migration, along with the United States, and to a lesser extent Panama and Spain. It is from these countries that the greater share of family remittances is sent to Nicaraguans.