U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - El Salvador

Some 8,900 El Salvadorans were refugees or asylum seekers abroad at year-end 2003, including 4,500 in the United States, 1,700 in Mexico, 790 in Costa Rica, 660 in Belize, and 510 in Canada.

El Salvador hosted 250 refugees and asylum seekers, including 230 Nicaraguans and 20 Colombians. Two Colombians resettled from El Salvador to Australia. There were 22 asylum applications in 2003, with 3 people granted refugee status, 8 denied, 8 cases abandoned or otherwise closed and 3 pending at year-end.

More than 100,000 long-staying Salvadoran asylum applicants covered by the landmark ABC settlement were eligible for permanent residence under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act of 1997 (NACARA). As 96 percent of NACARA applications under this category are approved, the U.S. Committee for Refugees considers this population to have a durable solution and excluded it from the count of refugees and asylum seekers in need of protection.

Asylum seekers in El Salvador were not subject to detention in 2003 and have the right to work. However, they have no separate work authorization and employers generally unfamiliar with the refugee document can be reluctant to hire them.


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