The International Rescue Committee welcomes the news today about the Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelan migrants. This initiative, presented by the Colombian government today, will be key to protecting the rights of Venezuelans that arrived before January 31, providing the opportunity of gaining a resident visa during the next ten years as well as granting authorization to remain in the country and to access work opportunities and basic services.

Marianne Menjivar, IRC Country Director for Colombia and Venezuela, said 

“Every day the needs of Venezuelans in Colombia are growing, exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic. Colombia has become the country in South America hosting the largest number of Venezuelan migrants, welcoming more than 1.7 million to date. Regularization initiatives like the one announced today are a step towards ensuring the protection of people who live in vulnerable conditions, empowering them with tools to rebuild their lives. Still, greater funding and support from the international community will be necessary and critical to sustain such welcoming policies and to help other countries in the region adopt similar measures.”

The IRC’s response in Colombia includes protecting children and adolescents with psychosocial services and education; protecting and empowering women victims of gender-based violence; providing access to life saving health care; and supporting people’s economic wellbeing. 

In response to COVID-19, the IRC set up mobile health clinics, including at the Venezuela border, expanded emergency cash programming and adapted existing protection and health services to enable remote assistance.

During 2020, the IRC launched the Colombia instance of the Global Signpost project, InfoPalante, a digital platform to help displaced populations access information on civil and legal rights, jobs, access to health care and COVID-19. 

Currently, the IRC is in the process of building relationships with local partners at the Colombia-Ecuador border. Learn more about the IRC’s response in Colombia.