• Crisis Severity ?
    1.6
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    2.5
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    1.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    1.9
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    2.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 34,000 People displaced [?]
  • 0

Overview

27/01/2022

As at December 2021, there were approximately 21,000 refugees and asylum seekers, 86% Venezuelan, registered with the Government or humanitarian organisations in Trinidad and Tobago. Numbers are unclear, given that many Venezuelans enter the country by irregular means and are not registered in the Government’s databases. These estimated numbers represent the highest per capita population of Venezuelans in the Caribbean, as the islands have a total population of 1.3 million people.?

Public entities in Trinidad and Tobago have announced a lack of budget to provide shelter for all Venezuelan migrants and refugees. This, combined with limited regularisation plans and the economic impact of COVID-19, has led to many Venezuelans being unemployed and evicted from their homes.?As a result, in July 2021, more than 700 Venezuelan migrants returned to their country on a trip arranged by the Venezuelan Government.?  

Manifestations of xenophobia continued throughout 2020 and 2021, as migrants were blamed for COVID-19 infections.?The routes used by migrants to reach Trinidad and Tobago expose them to protection risks, as some boats have shipwrecked on the way to the islands.? In addition, Venezuelan migrants have denounced cases of sex and human trafficking and child labour during their journey and after arrival.?

On 9 April 2021, a one-month registration period for irregular migrants in Trinidad and Tobago ended. Several thousand Venezuelans were unable to register, as the service was only available to migrants who had registered during the migrant registration process in 2019. Since 17 June 2019, Venezuelan nationals need a visa to enter Trinidad and Tobago. This requirement is a barrier to entry that may lead migrants to seek unsafe, informal routes into the country.

Latest Developments

02/02/2022

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

Entry requirements and legal status

23/07/2021

On 9 April 2021, a one-month registration period for irregular migrants in Trinidad and Tobago ended. Several thousand Venezuelans were unable to register, as registration was only available to migrants who had registered during the migrant registration process in 2019. Since 17 June 2019, Venezuelan nationals require a visa to enter Trinidad and Tobago. This requirement is a barrier to entry that may lead migrants to seek unsafe, informal routes into the country. ?

COVID-19

07/05/2020

Venezuelan refugees and asylum seekers are at an increased state of vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following government directives non-essential workers must stay home, and bars, restaurants, and all food vendors are closed, particularly affecting Venezuelan workers. The loss of income has led to reduced ability to meet basic needs and eviction has become a serious threat.

As social assistance remains inadequate for Venezuelans in the country, there is a concern that some may resort to negative coping mechanisms. The indefinite closure of borders also leaves refugees and asylum seekers without the option to return home, placing them at increased risk. Cash-based intervention and food assistance is being provided by different humanitarian actors. Ensuring access to education after the closure of schools remains a challenge.?

Key Priorities

03/02/2022

Food and nutrition: Lack of documentation for migrants and asylum seekers means that they cannot access the labour market, making access to food challenging. The poor economic and food security situation of irregular migrants and asylum seekers has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an increase in reporting of gender-based and other forms of violence, also among the displaced population. Those affected normally struggle to access the job market or to continue to work because of stigma, discrimination, or health-related consequences. Assessments conducted in 2021 showed that many migrants and asylum seekers were skipping meals to cope with the inability to purchase food, also because of inflation affecting food prices. ?

Livelihoods: Asylum seekers and irregular migrants often do not have work permits because of the lack of regularisation of the refugee status; they are pushed into the informal sector where they are exposed to risks of abuse and exploitation.?

Education: Access to the education system is possible for the approximately 16,500 Venezuelan migrant children who were registered in May 2019. Migrant and asylum-seeker children who have arrived in the country after that date without previous documentation struggle to access education. For them, special permits to access educational programmes must be approved in advance by the Ministry of National Security. Many are still waiting for approval, but the exact number is unknown. ?