RADHICA DE SILVA
Under cloudy skies, the re-registration of Venezuelan migrants got off to a slow start in San Fernando this morning.
Up to 10 am, only about a dozen migrants had delivered their forms in the drop off box, set up at the Immigration Division office at Knox Street, San Fernando.
A handful of Venezuelans sheltered from the rain opposite the office.
Venezuelan migrant Delores Matil told Guardian Media she was pleased that the process went smoothly.
“I was number three. They asked me a question and I dropped off my form and I was done in two minutes,” Matil said.
She urged other Venezuelan nationals to organize their forms early and drop them off, hassle-free, as soon as they could.
Former Venezuelan Judge Manuel Romero told Guardian Media that he planned to drop off his documents later this week. He said he was still in the process of getting supporting documents but was happy that the process was a smooth one.
However, the coordinator of the La Romaine Migrant Support Group, Angie Ramnarine, said some Venezuelans faced difficulties.
She explained that getting a stamped job letter as well as downloading the forms posed a problem for some people, so LAMS assisted.
“We have to remember that the migrant population is fluid and dynamic. Since they registered in 2019, many of them have moved to other parts of the country and formed their diaspora. This means they may re-register in other parts of the country,” she added.
Ramnarine also said many of the migrants did house cleaning and odd jobs, which meant their employer could not provide stamped job letters.
“It’s a five-page document and a few people had problems downloading it,” she said. She also said LAMS was assisting migrants with photocopying their forms.
Ramnarine expressed relief that the process was smooth.
“This time it is much more orderly than the initial registration process. The migrants have two weeks to re-register, and we think that only a few came out this morning because many of them had to work or may not have all the accompanying documents to go with the form.”
More than 16,000 migrants who fled the socio-economic turmoil in Venezuela, are expected to re-register at Immigration Division Offices across the country. Registration is expected to close on March 26.
Guardian Media will bring you more as this story unfolds.