BUJUMBURA June 12th (ABP) – The Cabinet met on Wednesday June 9, 2021 in Gitega (central Burundi) under the chairmanship of the Head of State Evariste Ndayishimiye with 9 items on the agenda, including the bill regulating immigration and emigration, according to the press release from the General Secretariat of the State.
The press release indicates that migration legislation has existed since the promulgation of the decree-law of March 20, 1989 regulating the access, stay, establishment of foreigners in Burundi and their distancing. More than thirty years later, several social phenomena have appeared and various regulations have been put in place, in particular the ratification of the Treaty of accession of Burundi to the East African Community.
The regulations on migration with regard to refugees have been slightly amended and supplemented twice by the law of 4 February 2008 and the law of 13 November 2008, both relating to asylum and the protection of refugees.
The press release indicates that the drawing up of that bill responds to the desire to have a single law that governs all aspects of immigration and emigration.
That bill also clarifies the missions which fall to the Migration Police and those which fall to the National Authority for the protection of refugees and stateless persons because, the law of November 13, 2008 on asylum and the protection of refugees attributed to that Authority the missions which are devolved to the Migration Police.
That bill also removes certain contradictions between the decree-law of March 20, 1989 regulating the access, stay, establishment of foreigners in Burundi and their distancing and the law of November 13, 2008 on asylum and protection of refugees in Burundi with regard to the establishment of the Advisory Commission for Refugees and Foreigners.
Given that there are no personnel specialized in the processing of files relating to foreigners in the diplomatic representations of Burundi abroad, the bill proposes the creation of a position reserved for the migration officer qualified to process the files of Burundians in accreditation countries or foreigners who want to come to Burundi. Finally, as there was no legal framework that differentiates EAC nationals from other foreigners, the bill makes this distinction to differentiate them from citizens coming from other States.
After discussion and debate, the bill was passed with the recommendation to ensure that the penalties provided for in that bill do not contradict those provided for in the Penal Code. It was also recommended that the title be amended to adopt a general term and speak of “migration regulation in Burundi”. The Cabinet further recommended using the term “citizens of the East African Community” like other countries of the community instead of “nationals of the East African Community”.
Regarding the position reserved for the migration officer in the diplomatic representations of Burundi abroad, the appointing authority will assess the opportunity, if need be, depending on the volume of files to be processed in each country where Burundi is represented.