News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Fri. Jan. 12, 2024: Guyana Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister Gail Teixeira has announced that the Irfaan Ally government is exploring ways to enhance the documentation process for all Venezuelan migrants entering the country.
Minister Teixeira addressed concerns raised by the APNU and AFC Oppositions regarding the influx of migrants from neighboring Venezuela. according to iNews Guyana, and strongly refuted allegations that the government was granting citizenship to numerous Venezuelan migrants for political gain in the upcoming 2025 General and Regional Elections, characterizing such claims as unfounded and illogical.
Teixeira emphasized that there had not been a sudden surge in Venezuelan migrants in recent months; rather, there had been a consistent flow of individuals from Venezuela. She provided a detailed explanation of the citizenship acquisition process in Guyana, highlighting the requirement of five consecutive years of residency to become a citizen and the option of marriage to a Guyanese citizen, subject to scrutiny to prevent marriages of convenience.
The minister also acknowledged the need to review the existing citizenship procedures related to marriage, suggesting that couples should spend one year living together before applying. She clarified that even without this criterion, applicants for citizenship in Guyana must undergo background checks and community visits, a process that typically takes about one year to complete.
Teixeira stressed that gaining citizenship in Guyana was not an expedited process and emphasized that Venezuelans, upon becoming naturalized citizens, were granted voting rights—a privilege also extended to Commonwealth citizens residing in Guyana for one year.
The Minister highlighted the government’s compassionate approach toward Venezuelan migrants, noting the presence of Guyanese-born citizens returning and individuals with Guyanese heritage coming to the country. Approximately 30,000 Venezuelan migrants reside in Guyana, with a significant portion having Guyanese connections. This comes amid tensions between Venezuela and Guyana as the Nicholas Maduro government makes claims to Essequibo.