Cuba announces plans to make it easier for citizens to immigrate

The Cuban government has announced plans to remove many of the restrictions that have prevented Cuban citizens from travelling or emigrating abroad according to National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcon.

Alarcon commented on the issue saying that Cuba is "working towards a profound radical reform of emigration." While he didn't divulge on all of the details, he noted that it was a priority issue for the government.

For nearly fifty years, Cuba has imposed travel restrictions on its citizens, but still thousands of citizens emigrate illegally each year, sometimes in dangerous ocean journeys in unstable boats. Because of this, since 1966, the US has granted Cubans automatic residence if they are present in the US for one year.

Currently, in order to travel abroad legally, Cubans need a permit that is valid for 30 days. The permit can be extended 10 times. But the fees for the required visas often make it difficult for many Cubans to travel since many live on an average monthly salary of less than USD$20.

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