Statement on Colombia’s Decision to Grant Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees

Colombian President Iván Duque announced on February 8th that Colombia will grant Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan migrants and refugees for up to ten years.

Hugh Aprile, Mercy Corps' Colombia Country Director, says:

“Colombia’s decision to grant protected status to Venezuelan migrants and asylum-seekers for up to ten years is a historic step and a clarion call to other countries that have absorbed large numbers of refugees and migrants. 

The ability for Venezuelans to legally work in Colombia and access health and social services will be a critical lifeline, particularly for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees working in the informal sector and facing decimated incomes under COVID-19 lockdowns.

The challenges of ensuring temporary protected status lives up to its promise and improves lives for the most vulnerable migrants and refugees cannot be understated. The government will face a mammoth task to integrate over 1 million Venezuelans into Colombian society - from getting COVID-19 vaccines to sending children to school to opening bank accounts. Colombia needs continued international support as this regional humanitarian and migration crisis sees no signs of abating.”

In Colombia Mercy Corps is providing emergency cash to Venezuelan migrants and refugees, returning Colombians and Colombians living in communities affected by the strain of Venezuelan migrations. Alongside other leading organizations working across different departments, we’ve reached more than 160,000 people with emergency cash.