MPI-World Bank Webinar
From a Humanitarian Exodus to Long-Term Growth: Latin America’s Journey Responding to the Venezuelan Exodus
Andrew Selee, President, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, Canada
Alejandra Botero, Presidential Advisor for Management and Compliance, Colombia
Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, Vice President, Latin American and Caribbean Region, World Bank
Felipe Muñoz, Chief of Migration Unit, Inter-American Development Bank
Nancy Izzo Jackson, Senior Bureau Official, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State
Allan Wagner, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Perú
Josefina Townsend, Reporter and newscaster, Peru
The convergence of the second largest refugee crisis in the world and the COVID-19 pandemic has left the more than 5.5 million migrants who have fled Venezuela in an even more vulnerable position. Lacking access to health care and often on the edge of poverty, these migrants and refugees have faced unprecedented challenges as the pandemic swept the globe, shutting down borders, taxing public-health systems, and leaving an economic downturn in its wake. The public-health crisis has also taxed the host governments trying to provide humanitarian assistance and avenues for migration for Venezuelans in the region.
The two countries where most Venezuelans have fled to—Colombia and Peru, with 1.7 million and 1.1 million arrivals respectively—have made significant efforts at welcoming these migrants despite the stress on their systems. Both countries have instituted policies and programs to respond to the short- and mid-term humanitarian challenges and are now taking steps towards longer-term integration of Venezuelans. Peru is offering migrants the option to register so that they can apply for regularization in the future. And Colombia created a Temporary Statute of Protection for Venezuelans that will regularize nearly 1 million migrants and grant all migrants a permit of stay and access to the labor market and health and education services for up to ten years.
In this discussion organized by the World Bank and the Migration Policy Institute, leading officials from the Western hemisphere examined national and regional efforts to integrate Venezuelans in ways that maximize their human-capital contributions and ability to drive economic growth in their host countries. The discussion also considered how the international community can mobilize to transform this crisis into a development opportunity for the region.