• Crisis Severity ?
    3.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    4.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    4.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    2.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    1.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 34,304,000 People affected [?]
  • 5,098,000 People displaced [?]
  • 19,278,000 People in Need [?]

Overview

08/10/2020

As of September 2020, around 5.1 million Venezuelans have fled the country, and with the deteriorating political and economic situation in Venezuela, there is no indication the outflow will slow down soon. UNHCR projects the overall number of Venezuelans fleeing their country to reach 5.5 million by the end of 2020. ?

Many Venezuelans in host countries are in urgent need of food, nutrition, health, and WASH assistance; needs vary depending on the country. Protection assistance is also crucial, including legal help with documentation in order to access healthcare and employment. A significant number of Venezuelans remain in an irregular situation (due to lack of documentation, long waiting periods, high application fees, etc.), leaving them without rights and access to services and vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. As the crisis inside Venezuela continues to deteriorate, host countries are increasingly struggling to respond to the influx of Venezuelans. The rising number of people entering neighbouring countries is putting a strain on basic services, especially in border areas. ? In order to respond to the influx, a Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) has been developed to support and complement national authorities in Latin America and the Caribbean. ?

Latest Developments

12/06/2020

No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.

Risk

The reactivation of Colombia’s economic activity leads to a large influx of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, who will face increased livelihood and protection needs aggravated by a rise in xenophobia Latest update: 05/11/2020

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

Colombia hosts around 1.8 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants. Many of these are part of the informal economy and lost their livelihoods because of COVID-19 containment measures. Colombia’s economy has been particularly affected by COVID-19, experiencing a 7.1% GDP loss since March and an increase in the unemployment rate of 6% from August 2019 to August 2020.? This pushed many vulnerable Venezuelans into poverty, food insecurity, and increased evictions (because of being unable to pay rent).

Because of the situation in Colombia and other countries in the region, over 120,000 Venezuelans have returned to Venezuela since March 2020.?

In Venezuela, challenges in accessing basic services and goods, food insecurity, and the risk of political persecution remain. The situation has been further aggravated by the pandemic. As a result, it is estimated that in the next five months 200,000 to 250,000 Venezuelans will try to reach Colombia, as Colombia’s economy has re-opened following the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions.? In July 2020, Colombia migration authorities estimated that 80% of those who returned to Venezuela would possibly come back to Colombia and that every re-migrating person would be accompanied by a new migrant.? According to Colombian author-ities, 300 Venezuelans are entering Colombia daily.? Since the Colombia-Venezuela border remains officially closed, Venezuelan refugees and migrants predominantly cross via irregular land and river border crossings. Those who enter irregularly and who lack a regular status in Colombia will highly likely face challenges in accessing protection and basic services, making them particularly vulnerable to the armed conflict in Colombia.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, xenophobia against Venezuelans has increased, as a result of rising economic and social tensions. The percentage of Colombians who hold negative opinions towards Venezuelan refugees and migrants jumped from 67% in February 2020 to 81% in April, but dropped again to 65% in June.?

Impact

Most of the Venezuelan refugees and migrants who will cross the border to Colombia in the coming months will use irregular border crossings. This highly increases their exposure to conflict, armed groups, sexual and gender-based violence, exploitation, forced recruitment, forced labour, and human rights abuses. In Colombia, they will lack a regular status, preventing them from accessing basic services and exposing them to protection risks, including fear (real or imagined) of deportation, risk of labour exploitation, and inability to report crimes and abuses to the authorities. In particular, Venezuelan migrants and refugees who move through Colombia on foot (so-called caminantes) risk greater exposure to COVID-19, limited access to proper sanita-tion and hygiene, and lack of access to adequate shelter.

Once back in Colombia, it is likely that returning Venezuelan refugees and migrants will face higher levels of xenophobia and increased labour competition, which will make it more challeng-ing for them to reintegrate into the labour market, diminishing their livelihoods. This is likely to result in higher poverty levels, lack of shelter, food insecurity, and lack of access to a diversi-fied diet. Real or perceived competition over limited resources between Colombians and Venezuelans will probably lead to a rise in resentment among the Colombian population.?

Read the latest October Risk Analysis here

Read this risk

IMPACT OF COVID-19

18/06/2020

The COVID-19 crisis has led to significant regional population movements in Latin America, both inside countries and across borders. There are currently around 1 million refugees and asylum-seekers (mostly Venezuelans), 8.3 million IDPs, and 4.2 million people displaced and in transit throughout the region. Many Venezuelan refugees and migrants working in the informal economy in Colombia, Brazil and Peru have lost their livelihoods and face poverty, eviction, food insecurity, and increased protection risks. As a result there is a growing number of Venezuelans that are returning to Venezuela. For the first time since 2015 the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia has decreased, with 68,000 Venezuelans returning to their country.?

On 13 March the Colombian government announced the immediate closure of all borders to limit the spread of COVID-19 but kept open a humanitarian corridor for returnees.

As of 11 June, the situation at the border remains complex. Venezuelan authorities have announced that the humanitarian corridor in Norte de Santander and in Arauca will only be open three times a week with a total quota of 300 people per day. Several groups of Venezuelan refugees and migrants seeking to return to Venezuela have been apprehended. This could lead to the overcrowding of different point along the border and the number of migrants crossing irregularly, putting them at greater exposure to armed groups and natural and health hazards.?

 

Entry requirements and legal status of Venezuelans

01/09/2020

ECUADOR: On 13 August Ecuador’s government announced the end of the “Temporary Residence Visa for Humanitarian Reasons” for Venezuelan migrants and refugees. Many migrants and refugees were unable to meet the requirements to obtain the humanitarian visa even before this announcement. COVID-19 restrictions resulted in loss of livelihoods for many Venezuelan migrants, and restricted movement of people. Venezuelans in Ecuador are now at risk of falling into a condition of greater vulnerability, facing fines they cannot pay and not being able to regularise their situation.?

PERU: After 15 June 2019, Venezuelan nationals need a Humanitarian Visa and a passport to enter Peru. Access only with Venezuelan identification documents is no longer allowed. New arrivals are in an increasingly vulnerable situation and include growing numbers of children. Nutrition, protection and WASH are priority needs.?

COLOMBIA: Migration authorities have announced two new permits aimed to give legal status to Venezuelan migrants in the country. PEP visa will be granted to Venezuelan migrants who entered Colombia before 29 November 2019. PEPFF permit will be granted to Venezuelans that receive formal employment offers. It is estimated that more than 200,000 Venezuelans would benefit from this measures. ?

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: A two-week registration period for irregular migrants in Trinidad and Tobago ended on 14 June 2019. Several thousand Venezuelans were unable to register due to backlogs at the three registration centres and are likely in need of protection. Limited prospects to regularise their migration status risks pushing vulnerable people to seek unsafe, informal routes into the country. ?