Published On: Fri, Oct 6th, 2017

“Visa requirement will not stop Venezuelan refugees”

Dutch ParliamentTHE HAGUE, WILLEMSTAD - There won’t be any visa requirement for Venezuelans who want to enter Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire anytime soon. Even if the crisis in Venezuela continues to deteriorate, said the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders.

The governments of Aruba, Curacao and the Netherlands are worried about the increase in the number of Venezuelans who come to the islands and stay illegally. But the islands do not want a visa requirement because, according to Koenders, that would have a negative effect on the economy.

Members of Parliament asked questions on Thursday, such as migration figures and possible scenarios, if the situation worsened. But that information was only shared verbally by the responsible ministers Plasterk and Koenders. Plasterk. They indicated not to have new migration figures or don’t want to share this with the MPs, at the request of Aruba and Curaçao. According to the islands and the Netherlands, this information could also stimulate migration from Venezuela.

One Venezuelan asylum seeker

According to the Dutch government, only a fraction of Venezuelans enters the island illegally by boat. There is no visa requirement for Venezuela on the islands: most of them come as tourists for a long stay and then disappear in the illegality.

Of the three islands, up to now, only Bonaire has only one Venezuelan who has asked for asylum. That request has been processed and rejected, Plasterk reports. He has not registered an appeal and has also been returned to Venezuela.

Fifth debate

It is the fifth time in two years that the House is debating on the ever-increasing political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. For both the Netherlands and the ABC islands, it is important to maintain relations with Venezuela. Tourism from Venezuela and the refineries in Aruba and Curaçao contribute to the economy on these islands.

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