MIL OSI Translation. Region: Spanish / Latin America / UN –
Source: Republic of Colombia
Bogotá (Sep. 28/20). On September 28 and 29, a virtual working session of the Mercosur Specialized Migration Forum was held, a space for dialogue between the member and associated countries that make up that integration bloc, with the purpose of discussing the impact migration in the region, the exchange of good practices in migration management and regulation, as well as the analysis and design of agreements or regulations that allow coordinated management of migration issues within the Mechanism.
The main objective of the meeting was to exchange information on the measures implemented by each country to deal with the current pandemic and how the restriction on free movement has affected migratory flows in the region. Colombia, as well as the majority of participants, implemented similar measures in terms of restriction of entry, likewise several exceptionally authorized temporary measures in matters of immigration, visas and refuge, among other matters due to the quarantine or isolation measures that affected the public service in person .
In her speech, Ambassador Fulvia Benavides, Director of Migration, Consular Affairs and Citizen Service, presented through a timeline the chronology of the measures implemented and how the institutional framework had to be adapted to this scenario, implementing among others: media of virtual attention, suspension of the applicable terms in matters of immigration and visas, assistance and consular procedures depending on the situation in each country and other temporary provisions that have gradually given way to the reopening of consular offices and face-to-face assistance in Colombia respecting in all cases the pertinent sanitary and capacity protocols.
Ambassador Benavides also presented in a general way the strategy designed by the National Government to attend to the Venezuelan migratory flow in the Covid-19 context, allowing the incorporation of the migrant population in the State’s response to the contingency in the components of voluntary return, humanitarian assistance. , health care, education and housing.
On the other hand, Colombia, in its capacity as coordinating country of the Working Group on Movement of People and Facilitation for Migratory Transit of the Pacific Alliance, presented the progress in the exchange of information of the Platform for Immediate Consultation of Information for migration purposes to facilitate the mobility of people, implemented among the immigration control authorities of the Pacific Alliance, as an example of good practice in the management of migratory flows in the region.
The space also allowed Colombia to present the current status of the application of the Residency Agreement of Mercosur and Associated States, developments in migration policy and the flexibility mechanisms implemented to attend to the Venezuelan migratory flow.
Colombia reiterates its interest in actively participating in the mechanisms or forums aimed at proposing a safe, orderly and regular migration management, as a country of origin, transit and recipient of migrants.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.