Regarding immigration, the country has plans to start regularization processes for Venezuelan migrants in 2022.
Afghanistan returned to being under Taliban rule on August 15, prompting tens of thousands of Afghans to seek to flee the country. At that time the scenes of hundreds of people crammed into US military planes shocked the world. Desperation and fear of the Islamist group made it a priority for international powers and other nations, including Ecuador, to resettle this population considered vulnerable.
The Government of Ecuador, a country with a long tradition of hosting refugees, announced a few weeks ago the temporary implementation of a visa called violet for Afghan citizens who are victims of the conflict in their country.
“The violet visa … will be granted for humanitarian reasons, for a specified time, until the conflict in Afghanistan ends,” the Directorate of Visas and Naturalizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility told this newspaper.
The visa will have a duration of up to one year, non-renewable. In addition, the application form and the visa will not cost the applicant.
Even before the conflict, Afghan citizens in general anda had the visa requirement imposed since September 3, 2010, that is in force. The new figure will be for those who seek to escape from Taliban rule and remain in Ecuadorian territory.
The Government of Ecuador, where 186 Afghans have received refugee status from 1989 to 2021, announced in August that was going to temporarily receive 5,000 citizens of that country in transit to the United States, as part of an international cooperation agreement to guarantee their safety and protection. And it was planned that Guayaquil would welcome them, however this decision never materialized.
Regarding this announcement, Luis Magallanes, Coordinator of Foreign Human Mobility of the Municipality of Guayaquil, indicates that the city was always ready for his arrival, but the final decision was made by the central government and what happened at that time is unknown. He emphasizes that they are ready to help in this new process related to the violet visa.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (Unhcr) has predicted that half a million Afghans will seek to leave by the end of 2021 and ensures that the majority of potential Afghan asylum seekers remain in neighboring countries.
Besides Ecuador, several governments have agreed to resettle this population, mainly to leaders, activists, LGBTI people and journalists. Canada has offered to host 20,000, the United Kingdom 5,000 in the first year and a maximum of 20,000 in the long term, and Australia will host 3,000. Other countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica have not specified a figure, but will focus on women and girls.
The US has made the most effort so far, most of the more than 120,000 Afghans who left the country since August have reached that country. The European Commission, for its part, has announced that it will allocate more than $ 670 million to the neighboring countries of Afghanistan (Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) to help with expenses generated by the exodus, collects Human Rights Watch in a post.
Meanwhile, at the moment Ecuador does not have other visas specifically directed to citizens of other nationalities. A visa similar to violet was the one that the country granted to Venezuelan citizens seeking to escape the crisis that plagues their country and that ended last March.
“During the first process of regularization of Venezuelan citizens, the exception visa was granted for humanitarian reasons (Verhu), but this process, being extraordinary and temporary, culminated in March of this year and is no longer being granted,” added the management.
Regarding this regularization that is on hold, Magallanes comments that Ecuador is the third country that has welcomed the most Venezuelans in recent years and that a new mechanism is planned for the regularization of more Venezuelans that would begin with a census.
“We have participated in conversations, forums with the Vice Minister of Human Mobility … the regularization, according to what we understand, comes first with a stage of a census, in the coming months, so that all Venezuelans can register,” he says.
The official says that after this census and already in 2022, the regularization process would have several stages, It would first be aimed at Venezuelans who have expired visas and then those who do not have any type of documentation.
On the other hand, he comments that, in Guayaquil, the local government leads actions in conjunction with international organizations such as UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to serve migrants who arrive in the city.
“We serve people who are in total and extreme vulnerability who are sleeping under bridges, they are given temporary shelter and then they are referred to the agencies so that they can help them with rent and food cards, generating a little stability in them,” he says. and he says that this is done with all nationalities.
Magallanes also refers that by 2022, in Guayaquil, there are plans to help Venezuelans with work tools and seed capital to develop enterprises. (I)
Requirements for Afghans who want to obtain the violet visa
Applicant Afghans must meet the following requirements:
- Violet visa application form.
- Passport size color photograph with a white background.
- Justify Afghan nationality by presenting the passport or travel documents recognized through international instruments and the human mobility authority.
- Having left Afghanistan as of August 1, 2021 and in accordance with the information available to the Ecuadorian State.
- Not to be considered a threat or risk to the public safety and structure of the State, according to the information available to the Ecuadorian State.
- In the case of accompanied minors, the birth certificate, sworn statement or document that justifies the affiliation with the parents will be required.
- Letter of sponsorship from the requesting entity stating the commitment to cover the expenses of the Afghan citizen’s stay during the period of validity of the violet visa.
The Zonal Directorates of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are in charge of receiving and processing the applications of Afghan citizens who wish to enter and remain in Ecuador. (I)
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