Colombia to offer temporary protective status to Venezuelan migrants
Colombia will provide temporary protective status to undocumented Venezuelan migrants, President Ivan Duque said Monday in a joint announcement with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
Why it matters: For years, Colombia has seen an influx of people fleeing economic and political turmoil in Venezuela. More than half of the 1.7 million Venezuelans in Colombia are undocumented.
Details: The new protections will allow migrants to work legally in Colombia and grant 10-year residence permits.
- Migrants who entered Colombia before Jan. 31 are eligible, as are migrants who legally enter Colombia during the first two years of the new policy.
- Migrants who currently have temporary residence status will also be able to extend their stay.
- Those who do not register under the new status may eventually face deportation.
What they're saying: "We need to take action," Duque said at the press conference, per Reuters. "This process marks a milestone in Colombia’s migration policies."
- Duque also called on the international community to increase funding to help vaccinate migrants against the coronavirus.
- The UN's Grandi called Colombia's move an "example to the region and world."
- "It is a life-changing gesture for the 1.7 million displaced Venezuelans who will now benefit from added protection, security and stability while they are away from home,” Grandi added.
The big picture: The Venezuelan population in Colombia fell more than 2% last year, per Reuters. Tens of thousands returned to Venezuela after the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of the informal work sector.
- Colombian officials believe that many will return, bringing others with them, as the economy recovers, Reuters reported.
- More than five million people have left Venezuela since 2015 — "one of the largest displacement crisis in the world," according to the United Nations.