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Cubans will need in-transit visas

Government 14 Jun, 2024 Follow News

Cubans will need in-transit visas

Minister Dwayne Seymour

In a bid to curb “irregular migration” of Cubans through the Cayman Islands, Cabinet has approved amendments to the Customs & Border Control (Visas, Entry and Landing) Regulations, 2019 which seek to introduce the requirement for in-transit visas for Cuban nationals.

Cuban nationals are travelling through the Cayman Islands and then onto other South American or Central American countries on a return ticket, but in some cases, are not returning. The amendments to the Regulations are to ensure that the visa application poses the appropriate questions to help CBC Visa Officers make decisions to approve or deny visas.

People are leaving their homes in search of safety and a better life, which has resulted in global unauthorised migration occurring more frequently. Considering the "push" and "pull" factors, migrants are risking everything to escape conflict, disaster, poverty, or hunger. Caribbean nations are not exempt from this trend as Haitian and Cuban citizens have traversed the Caribbean Sea with the intention of arriving in the United States and thereafter seeking asylum, a release said.

From November 2021 to November 2023, WORC statistics showed that 12,381 people travelled on a round trip ticket on Cayman Airways from Havana, Cuba, however only 3,116 persons returned on the ticket.

As a result, government worried about the various risks to the Cayman Islands attributed to the irregular migration of Cuban nationals, namely: reputational risk, risks of sanctions, risk of cancellation of routes for CAL, risk of visa restrictions for Caymanians and risk of increased applications for asylum by Cuban nationals in-transit.

Therefore, the Ministry of Border Control, Labour & Culture is taking measures to introduce an in-transit visa for Cuban nationals, to reduce the risk of irregular migration and to disincentivise passengers from Cuba from exploiting the Cayman Islands or CAL during irregular migration.

Minister for Border Control, Labour & Culture, Dwayne Seymour, stated:

"Securing our borders isn't just about lines on a map; it's about safeguarding our nation's integrity and ensuring the safety of our citizens. By taking proactive measures to manage irregular migration, we not only mitigate risks but also uphold the values of order and security, that define us as a nation."

The amended Customs & Border Control (Visas, Entry and Landing) Regulations, in-transit Visa requirements for Cuban nationals will come into effect on 5 August 2024.

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