March 24th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Costa Rica’s government on Friday introduced an immigration framework to be implemented over the next ten years that intends to control migratory flow while ensuring respect for human rights of foreigners residing in the country.
Vice Minister of the Interior, Freddy Montero, said the framework and policy is “unique in the Americas” and was drafted from the “bottom-up” with the participation of civil society.
The framework intends to better integrate various institutions to meet the country’s immigration challenges to ensure effective immigration control and respect for the human rights of immigrants.
According to the government, the objectives of the policy include the simplification of immigration procedures as well as to promote increased levels of migration regularization, and institute better controls on the entry, stay, and departure of immigrants in the country.
It also aims to strengthen immigration control points, promote better working conditions and respect for labor rights of immigrants and refugees, as well as to facilitate access to health and education services.
In addition, the policy seeks better social integration of immigrants and to strengthen the fight against human trafficking.
The National Immigration Council, composed of representatives of both government and civil society, was responsible for developing the policy as stipulated in the Immigration Act that came into force in 2010.
Official data from the year 2011 indicated there were at least 385,900 immigrants living in the country, representing 9% of the total population.
Nearly 75% of foreigners living in the country are Nicaraguan, followed by Colombians (4.1%), U.S. citizens (4.1%), Panamanians (2.9%), and Salvadorans (2.4%) amongst other nationalities.