Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)3.90 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.4.10 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.4.00 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.3.60 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.3.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Venezuela: COVID-19 outbreak overwhelms health system
Peru: Influx of Venezuelans in Tumbes
CrisisInSIght: Global Risk Analysis
As at May 2021, around 5.7 million Venezuelans have fled their home country. Considering the deteriorating political and economic situation in the country, there is no indication that the outflow of Venezuelans will lessen in the near future. The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) expects the overall number of Venezuelans fleeing the country to reach 8.1 million by the end of 2021 ?
Many Venezuelans in host countries are in urgent need of food, nutrition, health, and WASH assistance; the exact needs vary depending on the country. Protection assistance – including legal help with documentation to access healthcare and employment – is also needed. A significant number of Venezuelans remain in an irregular situation caused by lack of documentation, long waiting periods, high application fees, and other challenges. These populations are experiencing limited rights and access to services and are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. As the nationwide crisis continues to unfold, host countries struggle to respond to the influx of Venezuelan migrants. The rising number of people entering neighbouring countries is placing a strain on basic services – particularly in border areas. ?
To respond to the influx of Venezuelan migrants, the RMRP will support and complement national authorities in Latin America and the Caribbean. ?
Between January–July 2021, Chile recorded the entry of more than 23,673 undocumented migrants, mainly Venezuelans, through unofficial crossings. Chile already hosts over 455,000 documented Venezuelans, who represent the largest community of migrants and refugees in the country. COVID-19 restrictions and migration policies now limit access into and through the country for undocumented migrants, many of whom live in precarious conditions in northern Chile. Approximately 3,500 migrants are currently living in makeshift camps in the streets and parks of Iquique town and are in need of WASH services, shelter, and NFIs. On 27 September, some members of the host population took violent actions against migrants in Iquique, burning makeshift camps, clothes, blankets, and passports. The eviction of migrants by local authorities was also reported. ?
IMPACT OF COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant regional population movements in Latin America, both inside countries and across borders. As at November 2020, 4.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants – of the total 5.4 million living outside their home country – were hosted within the region. Many Venezuelan refugees and migrants working in the informal economy in Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru have lost their livelihoods and face poverty, eviction, food insecurity, and increased protection risks. As a result, a growing number of Venezuelans are returning to their home country. Dependency on humanitarian assistance has increased among the migrants who remain in host countries. There have also been cases of xenophobia and stigmatisation against Venezuelan migrants. This prejudice is associated with the perception that their migrant status leads to a higher risk of spreading COVID-19. ?
Approximately 40% of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin American countries were evicted during the pandemic. As at February 2021, an additional 38% of Venezuelan migrants were at risk of losing their homes. In some countries, the percentage of evicted Venezuelan migrants and refugees was as high as 59% (Brazil) or 69.5% (Colombia). An estimated 11% of evicted households in the region have ended in homelessness, increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.?
Entry requirements and legal status of Venezuelans
BRAZIL: On 23 June 2021, the Brazilian Government approved Ordinance 655, introducing changes to the entry conditions for Venezuelans affected by the humanitarian crisis in their country. With this ordinance, free transit is allowed between Venezuela and Brazil, as well as the entry into Brazil of Venezuelan citizens and their subsequent regularisation (taking into account health restrictions related to COVID-19). Ordinance 655 also allows for a process of regularisation for all Venezuelan nationals who have entered Brazil irregularly between March–June 2021. On 17 August, the Federal Police extended until 15 March 2022 the deadline to complete the regularisation process for those who failed to enter the country before 16 March 2020.?
ECUADOR: Since 26 August 2019, Venezuelan citizens require a visa to enter Ecuador. This requirement is a barrier to entry because many Venezuelans do not have a valid passport and cannot initiate the visa process. The cost is also very high, with the price depending on the type of visa (work, tourism, UNASUR, or study, among others). The most affordable process costs USD 250. On 13 August 2020, the Government of Ecuador announced the end of the ‘temporary residence visa for humanitarian reasons’ for Venezuelan migrants and refugees already in Ecuador. Ecuadorian consulates in Bogotá (Colombia), Caracas (Venezuela), and Lima (Peru) are still authorised to process visa requests under this category. Venezuelans residing in Ecuador who have not regularised their situations may be subject to a fine of USD 800 (the equivalent of two minimum wages). On 17 June 2021, the President of Ecuador announced a new regularisation process that involves allowing Venezuelan citizens in Ecuador to legalise their migration status and work freely in the country. As at the end of August, this process had not begun; on the contrary, a regulation that could lead to arbitrary deportations is awaiting presidential approval .?
PERU: Since 15 June 2019, Venezuelan nationals require a humanitarian visa and a passport (not necessarily valid) to enter Peru; they are no longer allowed entry with only Venezuelan identification documents. Since 30 August 2021, the Peruvian migration authorities have made the procedure for the temporary permit to stay application more flexible. This new measure makes it possible again to regularise a person’s migration status only with the identity document, regardless of whether it has expired.??
COLOMBIA: On 8 February 2021, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez issued a temporary protection statute for Venezuelan migrants. This statute will support the regularisation of around one million Venezuelan refugees and migrants living in Colombia. This effort benefits Venezuelans with entry and stay permits, asylum seekers, holders of the ‘SC-2 laissez-passer’ document who are in the process of obtaining a visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and migrants in irregular situations who can prove that they were in Colombia before 31 January 2021. Other Venezuelans will require a valid passport to obtain an entry and stay permit. The statute will facilitate access to healthcare and legal employment opportunities for Venezuelan migrants and refugees. It will also allow Venezuelan migrants in Colombia to transition from a temporary protection regime to an ordinary migration procedure, giving them ten years to acquire a resident visa ?
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: On 9 April 2021, a one-month registration period for irregular migrants in Trinidad and Tobago ended. Several thousands of Venezuelans were unable to register, as the process 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 because visa applications are expensive and require documents that many Venezuelans do not have. This may lead migrants to seek unsafe, informal routes into the country. ?
Update from the October 2020 Global Risk Analysis
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
The risk for Colombia and Venezuela identified in the previous ACAPS Global Risk Analysis has materialised and presented a moderate effect. On 1 September 2020, Colombia lifted most of the COVID-19-related restrictions that were affecting the economy. As a result, many Venezuelan refugees and migrants decided to return or migrate for the first time to Colombia, despite the border remaining closed until at least 1 June 2021? As at 31 December 2020, an estimated 967,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants – of the total 1.7 million Venezuelan migrants in Colombia – were living in the country without regular status.?
The pandemic has caused the economic resources of many Colombian households to decrease, leading to increased competition over resources between members of host communities and Venezuelans. This competition has contributed to the recent rise in xenophobia? Host community members have shown their discontent at the increased presence of Venezuelan refugees and migrants through protests, physical and psychological violence, hate speech, and discrimination? Comments on social media reflect polarisation and deteriorating perceptions regarding Venezuelans in Colombia.?
The closed borders and lack of documentation have increased the number of Venezuelans in Colombia. Many of these migrants have an irregular status and no access to basic services, leading to increased protection concerns. On 8 February 2021, Colombian President Iván Duque presented the Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan Migrants. This Statute will support the regularisation of around one million Venezuelan refugees and migrants who can prove they were in Colombia before 31 January 2021. This effort will facilitate access to healthcare and legal employment opportunities for Venezuelans in Colombia?
Read the October 2020 Risk Analysis here.