Colombia considering applying transit visas to citizens of some countries

Published on : Friday, January 17, 2014

visaIn a bid to prevent possible abuse by human trafficking organizations, Colombia is considering applying transit visas to citizens of some countries, Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin said.

“We do not require transit visas for any foreigners and may be this is why Colombia has become a country that makes the passageway to get off the plane and ask for refuge,” Holguin said.

He added that the measures would initially be applied for citizens of Somalia, Cuba and Bangladesh.

“We have noticed that the transit visa cannot be understood as a limiting issue but it is protecting citizens from human trafficking and illegal migration,” the minister said, referring to human trafficking organizations forcing those people to travel to the country.

According to official statistics, 434 people have requested refuge in Colombia during the last three years and many of them used provisional permit to move around the country and later be out of Colombia.

“In most cases we have become a country of transit, it is not that people want to get here, but their final destination is usually the U.S.,” Holguin said in a statement at San Carlos palace, headquarters of Colombia’s Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, the director of Colombia’s Immigration Office, Sergio Bueno, said “we have identified 27 cases of illegal immigrants” in the last two weeks.

He said the authorities do not rule out the possibility that transnational trafficking organizations are behind this situation.

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