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Costa Rica Faces Refugee Application Crisis

According to the General Directorate of Migration, Costa Rica is the second country in the world with the most unsolved refugee applications.

Marlen Luna Alfaro, the head of Migration, said in the radio program Nuestra Voz that the institution has 215,000 asylum applications pending. Nicaraguan, Venezuelans, and Colombians are those who have the most submissions. 

The Costa Rican migration services have received 2,920 new asylum applications in the last month. The number has peaked since 2018, and the average wait period for a resolution is, on average, eight years.

“We are overwhelmed by the fact that Costa Rica is currently reporting an exponential growth of refugee applications. We have more than 215,000 applications pending (for resolution) due to a lack of personnel,” said Luna on the program.

This high demand for new refugee applications, along with the thousands of others pending, worries the country’s immigration authorities, who state this issue is due to lack of personnel and resources.

The country has experienced a growth in the number of asylum seekers since 2018. Unfortunately, with the current budget and staff of the Migration Directorate, it is impossible to resolve it expeditiously.

“We are preparing a proposal to address the situation. Applications started to pile up in 2018, and they continue to do so; the list grows and grows, and we don’t have the resources and capacity to diminish it,” added Marlen Luna.

The institution’s budget is a significant problem, especially in streamlining these processes.

“Our low budget is concerning. It is a challenge because this is a beautiful institution to work in, but we face many difficulties. We have scarce personnel, almost no resources, and full of needs and requests from foreigners”, mentioned the Vice Minister.

The Ministry hopes to find solutions to this matter and to work together with the government to tackle a problem that is growing and becoming more complex in the country.

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