Colombian Migratory Context
Over 1.7 million
Venezuelans has received Colombia in the last 5 years. Being the first receiving country of this population in the region and in the world
As of December 2019, there were only 8,824 applications for refugee status, which represents less than 1% of the Venezuelan population in Colombia.
Source: compiled from R4V data.
Number of Venezuelans residing in Colombia by department.
Colombia, January 2021
Documentary situation of the Venezuelan population
1,742,927 total Venezuelan population in Colombia
Source: compiled from R4V data.
Source: taken from Migración Colombia.
Legal framework for protection
and social inclusion
Colombia currently does not have an immigration law, although a bill on the matter is being debated in the Congress of the Republic. In 2011 Law 1465 was enacted, on the National Migration System and in 2012 Law 1565 or Law of Return. The refuge is contained in Decree 2840 of 2013 . With the expulsion and deportation of the Colombian population from Venezuela in 2015, several related decrees were enacted and, with the subsequent arrival of the Venezuelan population, the Colombian government has created some instruments to regularize this population. Among them, the Special Permanence Permit (PEP), which is valid for two years, in some cases with the possibility of renewal. On March 1, 2021, the President of Colombia signed Decree 216 by which the Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan Migrants under the Temporary Protection Regime is adopted, granting a Temporary Protection Permit for a period of ten years that grants them access to social security.
What impacts did the pandemic have on the migrant and refugee population?
The lack of income generation of the migrant and refugee population was accentuated during the pandemic. The majority of the Venezuelan population had informal jobs. In the case of women, this was aggravated since many of them work in care.
Evictions from homes were a constant despite the fact that they were prohibited in several cities in the country. The extremely poor living conditions of the Venezuelan population were aggravated by overcrowding that prevented the social distancing necessary to prevent the spread of the virus
It is estimated that more than 100,000 Venezuelans returned to their country, but it is difficult to know exactly how many have entered through the irregular steps (trails) since then. In any case, it is estimated that the economic reactivation, the implementation of the Protection Statute and the advance in vaccination will again encourage the migration of more than one million people who will move from Venezuela to Colombia in 2021.
Impact mitigation measures adopted by the State
For the Colombian government, the inclusion of the migrant population in the responses to Covid-19 was evidenced in access to Solidarity Income, a measure adopted to alleviate the lack of income of the most vulnerable population through monetary transfers. This instrument allowed access to the benefit to the population registered in the SISBEN, a subsidized health regime and, therefore, regular.
It was also implemented in access to health due to Covid-19, regardless of the person's immigration status. However, the Solidarity Income is not representative with respect to the number of vulnerable migrants in an irregular situation without assistance from the government except in the area of health care in cases of Covid-19.
“The protection of the rights of migrants and refugees during the pandemic”
PhD in Political Studies and International Relations
Research group Migrations and Displacements
National university of Colombia
This and other publications from our group are supported by the FORD/LASA Special Projects program [Grant # FL-15-01].
This and other publications of our group are supported by the FORD/LASA Special Projects [Grant # FL-15-01].