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In dialogue with Cabo Verde, Experts of the Committee on the Rights of Migrant Workers ask about residence permits and about investment by the diaspora

​1 April 2022

The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families this afternoon concluded its consideration of the combined initial to third periodic report of Cabo Verde on measures taken to implement the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, with Committee Experts asking about residence permits for migrant workers, and about mechanisms promoting investment in Cabo Verde by its diaspora.

A Committee Expert asked if there were programmes encouraging investment in Cabo Verde?  If the diaspora were to return to the country, they could contribute to its development.  Another Committee Expert asked to what degree legislation had been reformed based on the Committee’s past recommendations.  What were the permanent mechanisms providing access to residency permits?  To obtain labour contracts, migrants needed to have residence permits, but to obtain residence permits, migrants needed to have a labour contract.  To obtain full access to education and health care, the legislation suggested that a person needed to have legal residency.  Was that actually the case?

Introducing the report, Fernando Elisio Freire, Minister of Family, Inclusion and Social Development of Cabo Verde and head of the delegation, said that migration and mobility were cornerstones of Cabo Verde’s history, promoting stronger links between the islands and with other countries, and promoting development and economic growth through trade facilitation, investment, and innovation.  Around one million Cabo Verdeans and descendants lived abroad, or almost twice the total resident population.  Cabo Verde had one of the highest percentages of emigrated population in the world.  The number of foreign citizens in the country had also tripled since 1991.  The diaspora was seen as a strategic resource for the political, economic, social and cultural development of the country.  A programme carried out in 2021 had extraordinarily regularised foreign citizens residing in Cape Verde without legal authorisation, and that programme had been extended to June 2022. 

In the ensuing discussion, the delegation said that the Government regarded remittances as an important source of income and investment, and that had contributed to the State’s development in many sectors.  There were tax breaks provided for investors.  A system was also in place to simplify the investment process for the diaspora.  There were also financial products available with special interest rates for members of the diaspora.  Emigrants who built their first home in Cabo Verde could purchase equipment free of tax.  The contributions made by remittances were very beneficial.  A large portion of investment came from Portugal.  The contribution of the diaspora was very positive.  The Foreigners Law had previously required that migrants obtain a residence permit in order to work and to obtain work in order to acquire a residence permit, creating a vicious cycle.  This situation was rectified by reducing the requirements for obtaining a residence permit.  The State was reviewing the regularisation process, looking to amend the law and reduce the requirements by June 2022.  The State had carried out communication campaigns explaining to migrants the process of regularisation. 

In closing remarks, Khaled Cheikhna Babacar, Committee Member and country co-rapporteur for Cabo Verde, thanked the delegation for the information provided, which enabled the Committee to make up for a shortfall of information. 

Myriam Poussi, Committee Member and country co-rapporteur for Cabo Verde, said the size of its diaspora posed a unique challenge for Cabo Verde, and the State should strengthen its support for its diaspora.  The Committee thanked the delegation for its participation in the dialogue, and called on the State party to implement the Convention domestically and strive to improve the conditions of citizens living abroad. 

Edgar Corzo Sosa, Committee Chair, said in concluding remarks that the dialogue had been very positive, with the aim of protecting the rights of migrant workers.  Although the diaspora was described as the State’s “eleventh island,” it seemed to be more like an archipelago rather than just one island.  He called on the State to provide that “archipelago” with the protection that it required.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Elisio Freire agreed that the diaspora could be called an archipelago, but added that the Government of Cabo Verde treated it as an important constituting part of the State.  Cabo Verde, he added, was committed to treating foreign migrant workers as well as it hoped that its population abroad was treated.  Mr Elisio Freire concluded by thanking the Committee for helping the State to improve its support for migrant workers, and looked forward to presenting the progress of the State to the Committee in the next State report.

The delegation of Cabo Verde was comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Family, Inclusion and Social Development; Special Advisor to the Prime Minister; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional; Ministry of Communities’ the High Authority on Immigration; Ministry of Interior; and the Embassy of the Permanent Mission of Cabo Verde to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will issue the concluding observations and recommendations on the report of Cabo Verde at the end of its thirty-fourth session, which concludes on 8 April.  Those, and other documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, will be available on the session’s webpage.  The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings can be accessed at http://webtv.un.org/.

The Committee will next meet in public on Monday, 4 April at 3 p.m.  to begin its constructive dialogue on the second periodic report of Paraguay (CMW/C/PRY/2).

Report

The Committee had before it the combined initial to third periodic reports of Cabo Verde (CMW/C/CPV/1-3).

Presentation of the Report

FERNANDO ELISIO FREIRE, Minister of Family, Inclusion and Social Development of Cabo Verde and head of the delegation, said that Cabo Verde in 1997 had ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.  The Convention had entered into force in the Cabo Verde legal order in July 2003.  In 2018, Cabo Verde had submitted the initial to third combined periodic report on the implementation of that Convention, highlighting and reinforcing its firm commitment to that important instrument for promoting and defending the human rights of migrants.  Migration and mobility were cornerstones of Cabo Verde’s history, promoting stronger links between the islands and with other countries, and promoting development and economic growth through trade facilitation, investment, and innovation.  Around one million Cabo Verdeans and descendants lived abroad, or almost twice the total resident population.  Cabo Verde had one of the highest percentages of emigrated population in the world.  The number of foreign citizens in the country had also tripled since 1991.

Cabo Verde’s Constitution stated that all citizens had equal social dignity, were equal before the law and could not be discriminated against on grounds of race, sex, ancestry, language, origin, religion, social and economic conditions or political or ideological convictions.  In 2014, Cabo Verde had adopted legislation around the entry, stay, exit and expulsion of foreigners from Cabo Verde territory.  The legislation was applicable to foreigners and stateless persons and included provisions facilitating the maintenance of diaspora links with Cabo Verde.  The instrument had provisions combatting trafficking of migrants and trafficking of persons.  The Penal Code had been revised in 2015 to strengthen national legislation on issues relevant to migration, criminalise trafficking in persons, and promote guarantees to victims.

The diaspora was seen as a strategic resource for the political, economic, social and cultural development of the country.  Public policies such as the National Strategy for Emigration and Development aimed to increase the scope and impact of the diaspora's engagement and contribution to Cabo Verde's development process.  The National Strategy for Immigration aimed to respect, protect and promote the human rights of immigrants and strengthen the responsibilities of competent authorities in the management of migration and immigration flows.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the newly established Ministry of Community Responsibilities in the field of emigration and Cabo Verdean communities abroad defined and reviewed migration policies.  Cabo Verde had engaged in promoting circulation and mobility throughout its history.  It had signed the Economic Community of West African States Free Movement Protocol, concluded bilateral labour agreements with the main destination countries of its emigrants in Europe— Portugal, France and Spain—and had free movement and visa-free agreements with several countries.  It also had cooperative measures to combat trafficking in persons and promote border security. 

Cabo Verde had developed initiatives and instruments aimed at disseminating information on the Convention and on the rights and duties of migrants in partnership with civil society organizations and immigrant associations.  The improvement of statistical data on migration was also a priority.  The High Immigration Authority had been established to coordinate and implement policies and measures in the field of immigration.  Local immigration units would be established in five municipalities later in 2022 to connect immigrants with public services.  A programme carried out in 2021 had extraordinarily regularised foreign citizens residing in Cape Verde without legal authorisation, and that programme had been extended to June 2022.  Residence permits had been issued digitally from 2021.  The Emigrant Investor Code adopted in 2020 aimed to create a favourable environment for attracting investment and encourage the return of the diaspora through the introduction of tax exemptions. 

Cape Verde had introduced a number of measures to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on migrants.  It had provided exemption from tuition fees, increased the number of beneficiaries of its Social Protection System, and provided emergency social income for 29,000 families, including about 1,300 immigrant families.  The country still had challenges in the implementation of the Convention and in its work in supporting migrants.  The State aimed to reconfigure its diplomatic and consular network to defend the interests of migrant workers and Cape Verde citizens; modernise consular service to allow emigrants to have essential documents as soon as possible; negotiate agreements for the recognition or exchange of driving licences to increase the employability of migrant workers; and to engage in other international instruments aimed at protecting and respecting migrants' rights. 

Questions by Committee Experts

A Committee Expert commended Cabo Verde on the adoption of immigration legislation, and on amendments to the Criminal Code.  However, those measures were incomplete, and the bill on non-discrimination had not yet passed into law.  What measures had been taken to ensure that the State party's national laws complied with the provisions of the Convention?  The Expert asked for examples of ways of which the Convention had been invoked in court cases.  What measures had the State party taken to ensure that draft laws complied with the Convention, and what measures were in place for monitoring the implementation of the Convention?

Did Cabo Verde intend to ratify the International Labour Organization Migration for Employment Convention, Minimum Wage Fixing Convention, Migration for Employment (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, Private Employment Agencies Convention, and Domestic Workers Convention?  To what extent was statistical data used to develop migration policies, strategies and action plans?  What measures had been implemented to ensure that civil society was involved in the process of drafting policy?  What measures had the State party taken to ensure the collection of data covering all aspects of the Convention?  What measures had been taken to ensure due process guarantees?  Could migrant workers join trade unions? 

Did the children of migrants receive identity documents?  Was the right of migrants to live in the country not repealed if the migrant lost their job?  Had there been any complaints about recruitment agencies?

Another Committee Expert asked about the Asylum and Refugee Status Act of 1999.  Why had that regulatory framework not been adopted twenty years after it was drafted?  Was there progress regarding ratification of the non-discrimination bill?  The Committee had recommended several measures to align the National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship with the Paris Principles concerning independence and autonomy.  Was there progress in strengthening the National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship?  What role did the National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship play in the drafting of public policies on migration?  What role did the National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship play in repatriation? 

The law provided that minors were only repatriated if the States of origin or third States offered guarantees of adequate care.  How was that measure implemented during evictions?  Had there been situations where expulsions had been refused or abandoned due to the lack of adequate reception and care guarantees by States?

What progress had been made through the immigration action plan regarding the integration of migrants?  Was there a new draft law providing migrant workers with social security without any discrimination?  Over the past ten years, Cabo Verde has put in place a range of measures and actions in favour of migrant workers and members of their families.  What were the results that had been achieved?  What difficulties had been encountered in achieving the objectives?

Another Committee Expert noted that Cabo Verde had a voluntary migration policy.  Were there programmes encouraging investment in Cabo Verde?  If the diaspora were to return to the country, they could contribute to its development.  Could Economic Community of West African States migrants come to the country to work without facing barriers to entry?  Did Christian migrants have free access to health and housing? 

Another Committee Expert called on Cabo Verde to provide more support for its citizens aboard.  What support networks were present overseas?  What were their political rights?  Were there measures that supported overseas residents to establish businesses?  What measures were in place to protect women against human rights violations, including domestic violence?  What was the status of the National Human Rights Commission in terms of its independence?  What was the process for migrants to change their visa status?  Was there mandatory human rights training for police? 

Another Committee Expert asked to what degree legislation had been reformed based on the Committee’s past recommendations.  What were the permanent mechanisms providing access to residency permits?  To obtain labour contracts, migrants needed to have residence permits, but to obtain residence permits, migrants needed to have a labour contract.  What was the role of the national police in patrolling borders?  To obtain full access to education and health care, the legislation suggested that a person needed to have legal residency.  Was that actually the case?

Another Committee Expert said that Cabo Verde’s participation in the dialogue was a positive step, and thanked the delegation for its effort to join the dialogue.  There were options for naturalisation within the country, but what criteria existed if the child of a person of Cabo Verdean descent was born outside of the country?  If there were no means for those people to obtain Cabo Verde citizenship, that could lead to statelessness.  What measures were in place to address that? 

Responses by the Delegation

The delegation explained that the Government was studying best practices around the world, and hoped to be able to ratify the various International Labour Organization Conventions.  The State was reviewing the law, aiming to adapt it to modern times.  Migrants could send remittances home freely, but could only exit the country with a maximum sum.  A brochure on the Convention had been prepared and distributed to migrant workers.  The brochure was a working tool of State institutions.  The Convention was also considered when dealing directly with migrants.  Migrants were assured of all human rights, and access to health services and social security was not dependent on migratory status.  There was a non-governmental organization platform for migration, and non-governmental organizations had a seat on the National Migration Council.

Migrants’ children were registered in hospital birth registries, but parents needed to express their wish for Cabo Verde nationality to be given to their children.  The National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship was a member of the Immigration Council, and there was cooperation between the Immigration Council and the Council for Citizenship.  Eleven cases of trafficking in persons had been detected up until 2020, which were being investigated.  A decision had not been handed down on those cases.  The High Authority for Immigration was a public institution tasked with developing policy on immigration.  It facilitated contact between migrants and public services.

All workers were treated the same.  Migrant workers had the same right to lodge a complaint as other workers.  All workers were treated equally regardless of their nationality.  Compensation for unfair dismissal was ensured under the Constitution.  If a worker filed a complaint, it was registered and investigated.  The State checked the working conditions in places of employment.  It also ensured that minimum wage levels were respected.  It was difficult to carry out inspections in the informal sector, so the Government was striving to formalise the entire economy.

There had been few cases of forced labour, but inspectors were checking to ensure that it did not occur.  All workers, including migrants, were entitled to pensions.  There was compulsory insurance for foreign workers; family members of persons who experienced a workplace accident, as well as the person involved, received compensation.  There were no recorded incidences of child labour.  Migrant workers who had been charged with a crime would have to serve a sentence.  In such cases, the National Human Rights Institution was notified.

Migrants could be expelled from Cabo Verde territory based on the Law on Foreigners, which granted the border authority the administrative powers to carry out the expulsion.  The person in question had the right to a lawyer and could contest the expulsion.  The National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship needed to be informed in all cases.  Judicial expulsion only occurred when a person had been found guilty of a crime.  In all cases, the right to a lawyer was provided.

The State could stop a person from entering the country, and there were rules to be followed regarding entry.  If those rules were not fulfilled, entry could be blocked.  One such rule was sufficient subsistence in the form of cash, credit cards or sponsorship.  If the person was not allowed to enter, airlines were required to bring that person back to their home State.  If minors were not accompanied by their parents or carers, they could be refused entry.  The Government ensured that children did not come into the country illegally.  Any foreign citizen legally living in the State could bring family members with them.  Family members’ entry requests were processed within thirty days, and two-year residence permits were issued.

Cabo Verde had agreements with all countries where there was a large diaspora, assuring the provision of health and social services in those countries.  There were also consular protection agreements with other countries allowing for assistance to be provided to nationals.  Cabo Verdeans born abroad had the right to apply for Cabo Verde nationality.  Emigrants could vote in Presidential and legislative elections.  The Government regarded remittances as an important source of income and investment, and that had contributed to the State’s development in many sectors.  There were tax breaks provided for investors.  A system was also in place to simplify the investment process for the diaspora.  There were also financial products available with special interest rates for members of the diaspora.  Emigrants who built their first home in Cabo Verde could purchase equipment free of tax.  The contributions made by remittances were very beneficial.  A large portion of investment came from Portugal.  The contribution of the diaspora was very positive.

The Foreigners Law had previously required that migrants obtain a residence permit in order to work and to obtain work in order to acquire a residence permit, creating a vicious cycle.  This situation was rectified by reducing the requirements for obtaining a residence permit.  The State was reviewing the regularisation process, looking to amend the law and reduce the requirements by June 2022.  The State had carried out communication campaigns explaining to migrants the process of regularisation.  Social security services were also carrying out information campaigns for migrants.  Social services were available to all migrants, but workers lacked awareness regarding the need to be a part of social security.  Cabo Verde treated all migrants with dignity and respect, and provided access to basic education, housing and services equally.  The State respected human rights regardless of nationality.  Legislation was in line with best international practice.

Questions by Committee Experts

A Committee Expert addressed the National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship, stating that that organization was not fully independent as it was working under the auspices of the Ombudsman.  That Commission should not have an administrative role to play.  It processed complaints from migrants from mainly African countries.  Why did it not process complaints from all migrants?  Was there systematic and mandatory training for all public officials who dealt with migrants?

The statistics related to migrants provided by the delegation were praiseworthy.  Were immigration workers able to carry out their work in full impartiality?  Had Cabo Verde taken specific steps to ratify International Labour Organization Conventions, especially the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention?  The Expert noted the measures taken regarding migrants who faced deportation, and asked whether such migrants were informed of their rights before being deported. 

Another Committee Expert addressed the delegation’s statement that if there was a refusal of entry, the person’s return fell under the responsibility of the airline.  If a person had a one-way ticket, how were expenses for the return flight settled?  Were airports the only ports of entry into the State?  Concluding observations contained the Committee’s position regarding implementation of the Convention.  The expert called on the State to disseminate information related to those concluding observations.  Data was very important for the Committee.  Quantified, disaggregated data enabled the Committee to interpret how well the State was implementing the Convention.  What actions would the State take to improve its statistics on migration?  In particular, the Expert called for more data on migrant women.  Was there data on highly skilled migrants?  Why was the number of citizens who travelled abroad so high?

The Expert added that Cabo Verdeans might face difficulties in other countries, especially in States with which there was no agreement.  How did the State protect the rights of those migrants?  Did it provide legal aid to migrants who had been detained?  Out of a population of approximately one million abroad, less than half had been registered by consular bodies.  What was the reason for that, and what steps were being taken to improve the situation?  Was specific assistance provided to migrant workers, as well as their families?  What measures had Cabo Verde taken to ensure that all children of migrant workers had access to an appropriate education?  Did the delegation intend to make primary education mandatory for all children in the State?

Another Committee Expert asked about policies to prevent xenophobia and promote social cohesion.  Cabo Verde primarily received migrants from African States, and there had been stigmatisation of migrants from certain States.  The Expert asked for more details regarding the State-sponsored programme to prevent xenophobia and stigmatisation of migrants. 

The Expert asked how the State tackled language barriers in inclusive education?  The senior authority for migration only allowed migrants to obtain nationality if they had lived in the country for five years.  The Government had not approved a proposal to simplify citizenship applications.  What legal mechanisms did Cabo Verde have to prevent statelessness, particularly for children of migrants?

Another Committee Expert asked whether migrants from Economic Community of West African States could enter the country without a permit, and whether they encountered any “red tape” because they did not have a permit?  It was noted that 12 per cent of the gross domestic product of Cabo Verde came from remittances.  Return and resettlement policies should be established, the Expert said.  How many highly skilled expatriates had returned to the State and established businesses?

Another Committee Expert asked whether, upon entry at airports, persons could request refugee status?  Did the State prevent people from requesting refugee status?  What type of responsibility did the airline have?  If there was a day or more gap between the return flight, who funded accommodation?  Was food and subsistence means provided? 

Responses by the Delegation

The delegation explained that the integration of the National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship with the Ombudsman strengthened its independence.  The Ombudsman was a publicly elected figure, and represented the people of the State.

All migrants had the right to education and to enrol in education institutions.  No person paid for primary or secondary schooling.  The State was encouraging greater use of school canteens, which would benefit migrant workers.  The State had an anti-discrimination law that prohibited xenophobia and racism.  The labour inspectorate was impartial, and the central State institution responsible for labour-related matters.  Inspectors had full autonomy, and the institution’s decisions were not subject to appeal from the State.  There were 20 inspectors, and their working conditions had been improved recently.

Airlines were responsible for taking back persons who had been refused entry, and were also responsible for the cost of the stay of the person in the State.  Airlines had the responsibility to verify that persons had the correct paperwork to enter the country, and could be fined if they did not fulfil that obligation.  There were also seaports, and travel companies had those responsibilities for people who entered from seaports.  A low number of people were refused entry.  Of close to half a million foreign entrants in 2022, only 87 individuals had been refused entry.  Foreigners could apply for refugee status, but there was no law that clarified procedures.  Such foreigners had their claims assessed by the High Authority on Immigration. 

There was a process for obtaining data on the diaspora, including their skills and type of work.  A migration observatory was being created that would create data on emigrants.  The root cause of emigration was adverse economic conditions prior to the State’s independence.  After independence, many people still chose to emigrate to improve their economic standing.  There were thus many people who were third or fourth generation Cabo Verdeans living abroad who kept close family links with the State.  Such people had the protections that they needed in the States where they lived.  Individuals were invited to register with consulates but were not required to do so.  Even if such persons did not register with consulates, they still had access to consular assistance if required.

Cabo Verde had several international agreements to protect its citizens and migrant workers.  When a foreigner was turned back at the border, Cabo Verde communicated with the State of origin to ensure a safe return.  There had not been many situations of Cabo Verdeans being detained in foreign States, but in such cases, consular services were provided.  If there was no consular presence, Cabo Verde ensured that public officials of the State in question provided consular assistance. 

Cabo Verdeans often considered migration the best way of finding a job.  Associations of the diaspora provided information for people planning to migrate.  In the future, more information would be provided on countries of destination.  That information would be posted on a Web site that was currently being built.  There were also a number of events promoting skill-sharing among people of the diaspora.  The Government wanted to remain close to its communities abroad, and wished to move forward together with the diaspora community.

The National Statistics Office had in 2020 released a report on immigration which showed the level of services available to immigrants.  There were challenges in identifying immigrants’ countries of origin, however.  The census and periodic surveys also collected data on migration.  The 2021 census made progress in gathering data on immigration and emigration.  It had sought to gauge the extent of the brain-drain through a question determining the primary nationalities of people with dual nationalities.  The results of the 2021 census were still being tallied.  A survey on the integration of immigrants had also been carried out.  The National Statistics Office had discussions with regional bodies to determine gaps in statistics.  Migrants from other African States accounted for over half the total number of immigrants in Cabo Verde.  Many migrants came from West Africa, and as those migrants were more vulnerable, that group was the focus of public and institutional integration policies.

A training plan was being rolled out in 2022 for public and private institutions related to migration.  Resources were being mobilised, and constant training activity would be carried out over the next three years to promote respect for the human rights of migrants.  Those programmes would target portrayals of migrants in the media, and there would be educational programmes for teachers to encourage them to disseminate the Government’s message.  Efforts had been made to overcome language barriers in schools.  Migrant children accounted for less than one per cent of the total number of students, and there was no difference in migrant children’s performance in schools compared to Cabo Verdean children.  The Government was working to improve the literacy levels of migrant adults.  Courses in Portuguese and Cabo Verdean Creole had been broadcast over the radio, and language textbooks had been published by the State.  In five municipalities with a high population of migrants, migrants had language tutors that provided support.  There were plans to reduce the minimum period of residence required for the children of migrants born in the State to obtain citizenship from five to three years.  The State had been highlighting the need for women and children to regularise their migration status.

Ministries, stakeholders and institutions had specific responsibilities to address migrants’ rights.  The National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship provided a one-stop shop for migrants, promoting access to services and necessary information.  From 2021 until June 2022, there was also a programme for regularising migrants that required minimal paperwork.  Over 3,000 applications had been received in the programme thus far.  Cabo Verde made sure that the diaspora could vote in elections, and emigrants were asked to contribute to the State through investment.

Questions by Committee Experts

A Committee Expert asked whether there was legislation related to domestic workers that incorporated International Labour Organization Convention 189, the Domestic Workers Convention.  The informal sector made up a large percentage of the workforce.  What protections were available for workers in the informal sector?

Another Committee Expert asked about measures being taken to prevent violations of the rights of migrant workers overseas, noting that bilateral agreements had been signed with Spain, Portugal and France.  The Expert asked about the contributions that those agreements had made in protecting the rights of Cabo Verde citizens abroad.  What mechanisms were used to assess the effectiveness of those agreements?

Another Committee Expert asked about the presence of illegal migrants without a return ticket.  Was the International Organization for Migration asked to assist with repatriation?  The Expert called on the State party to improve the National Commission on Human Rights and Citizenship so that it was in line with the Paris Principles.

Another Committee Expert noted that there were 20 labour inspectors, and stated that the International Labour Organization required that there was one labour inspector for 40,000 workers.  Were there enough labour inspectors to conform with that requirement, and how effectively was the labour inspection service operating? 

Responses by the Delegation

Cabo Verde was working on a plan for formalisation of the economy, with around 50 per cent of workers not part of the social security system, although it was mandatory.  Once that situation was addressed, the State would be able to ratify Convention 189.  The State was cooperating with the International Labour Organization to strengthen participation in the social security system.

There were electoral role commissions in various countries in which there were Cabo Verde citizens.  Six Members of Parliament were elected by the diaspora, and represented the diaspora.  A commission met every two years to review and revise Cabo Verde’s bilateral agreement with Portugal, ensuring that migrant workers were sufficiently covered regarding health care and other services.  There were plans to establish similar reviews for other bilateral agreements.  There were 20 labour inspectors, an improvement on 16 in 2016.  The State planned to recruit more inspectors to cover other islands, for example in Boa Vista.  Inspections tried to cover the entire country, including islands where there were no resident inspectors.  The State had provided workers with information regarding how to file complaints, and a telephone line for filing complaints had been established.

All airlines were bound by rules that determined that foreigners without long-term visas must have a return ticket.  The State had disseminated entry requirements to all airlines, as well as to border posts.  If a foreigner was retained at a border, consular services were contacted for that person’s home State.  There was no disaggregated data on the informal sector, but the State planned to conduct a survey of migrant workers in the informal sector.  The 2021 census results would also allow the State to learn more about migrant workers in the informal sector.

Closing Remarks

KHALED CHEIKHNA BABACAR, Committee Member and country co-rapporteur for Cabo Verde, thanked the delegation for the information provided, which enabled the Committee to make up for a shortfall of information. 

MYRIAM POUSSI, Committee Member and country co-rapporteur for Cabo Verde, thanked the delegation for the fruitful and beneficial dialogue.  The dialogue had helped the Committee to promote the rights of migrant workers both in Cabo Verde and in other States where Cabo Verdeans lived and worked.  The size of its diaspora posed a unique challenge for Cabo Verde, and the State should strengthen its support for its diaspora.  There was insufficient data on migration in Cabo Verde, she said, and called for improvements to that data.  The Committee thanked the delegation for its participation in the dialogue, and called on the State party to implement the Convention domestically and strive to improve the conditions of citizens living abroad. 

EDGAR CORZO SOSA, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for its contribution to building a dialogue with the Committee.  The dialogue had been very positive, with the aim of protecting the rights of migrant workers.  Although the diaspora was described as the State’s “eleventh island,” it seemed to be more like an archipelago rather than just one island.  He called on Cabo Verde to provide that “archipelago” with the protection that it required.  In conclusion, he commended the State party for its efforts in implementing the Committee’s concluding observations, and called on the State party to submit its next report in a timely manner.

FERNANDO ELISIO FREIRE, Minister of Family, Inclusion and Social Development of Cabo Verde and head of the delegation, agreed that the diaspora could be called an archipelago, but added that the Government of Cabo Verde treated it as an important constituting part of the State.  Cabo Verde demanded that its diaspora was well treated overseas, with access to all necessary services and housing.  The Government aimed to bolster its diplomatic and support services to provide additional support for the diaspora, and further negotiate agreements with destination countries.  It had supported better access to identification documents for emigrants.  The State was also committed to promoting international instruments that protected migrants.  Regarding foreign nationals, the Government would continue to invest in their social inclusion.  The State was creating platforms of information on social services in various languages.  Cabo Verde was committed to treating foreign migrants as well as it hoped that its population abroad was treated.  Tax breaks and incentives were provided for emigrants investing in Cabo Verde, and there were programmes aiming to enhance their participation and investment in the State.  The State aimed to provide increased support both for emigrants and immigrants into the future.  Mr. Elisio Freire concluded by thanking the Committee for helping Cabo Verde to grow, and looked forward to presenting the progress of the State to the Committee in the next report.

Link: https://www.ungeneva.org/en/news-media/meeting-summary/2022/04/dialogue-cabo-verde-experts-committee-rights-migrant-workers-ask

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