HAVANA TIMES — Cuba will allow the return of emigrants who left the country illegally since 1994 after waiting a period of eight years, according to a new aspect of immigration reform announced today, reported DPA news.
This measure benefits emigrants who left after the immigration agreement signed with the United States in 1994, after the rafter crisis, said Homero Acosta, secretary of the Council of State, in a special television program.
Similarly, athletes and doctors who deserted Cuban missions abroad after 1990 can return to the island, after a same eight year period, added Acosta.
Those who fled via the Guantanamo naval base cannot benefit from the measure for “reasons of national security and defense,” explained the official.
“The first step we can announce at this time is that it normalizes the temporary entry of those who emigrated illegally after the 1994 migration accords,” said Acosta.
“In the same situation are health professionals and elite athletes who left missions abroad or illegally left the country after 1990, and equally, if more than eight years has passed” he added.
However Acosta noted that thus far these illegal emigrants will be able to visit the island but will not be able to stay indefinitely in Cuba.
On October 16, the Cuban government announced historic immigration reforms that relax foreign travel for its citizens living on the island after decades of restrictions. This was done through the elimination of the previously required exit visa for travel abroad.
However, the measure includes restrictions aimed at stemming any “brain drain” of certain professionals, including doctors. It is thought that the limitations will also extend to political dissidents.