Over two years after Colombia launched a regularization policy that has benefited almost 2 million Venezuelans, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has published a report with lessons learned and a series of recommendations that can be applied to similar processes around the world.

In 2021, after becoming the main host country for millions of Venezuelans, Colombia launched an ambitious regularization program. The Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan Migrants (ETPV, its acronym in Spanish) was introduced by the Colombian government to address the humanitarian and protection needs for a population that included nearly one million Venezuelans in the country without regular migratory status.

To date, 1.7 million Venezuelans–of the more than 2.5 million estimated to be in the country–have been granted Temporary Protection Permits. This permit entitles them to regular migratory status through 2031, guarantees of rights, access to essential services and labor markets, and the opportunity to apply for residency.

Based on research and its experience collaborating in the ETPV process, the IRC has published a report with a series of learnings and recommendations for governments, international organizations, regional bodies, donor and financial institutions, and civil society groups on regularization as a pathway to protection. The lessons from Colombia’s regularization process include the need to:

Marianne Menjivar, Director for the Venezuela Crisis Response at the IRC, said:

“For years, Colombia has been a lifeline for millions of Venezuelans who have left their country. Colombia has become a benchmark when it comes to welcoming people in need of protection, despite the historical lack of funding for this crisis.”

“There is proof that promoting regularization alternatives brings benefits to both hosted and host communities. An analysis by the International Monetary Fund estimates that investment in integration of Venezuelans could produce more than 3.5 percentage points growth in GDP in Colombia by 2030. Contrary to popular narratives, regularization has not served as a 'pull factor.' In fact, after its announcement, new entries of individuals who could still qualify for regularization remained 65% below pre-pandemic levels.”

“At the IRC, we call on the international community to guarantee support for countries like Colombia, so that humanitarian aid can be delivered, while providing the foundations for sustainable solutions, including alternatives to advance and update regularization processes.”

In the report, the IRC shared a series of recommendations to ensure that regularization contributes to equitable and sustainable responses to displacement. According to the IRC:


The IRC’s work with Venezuelans in the Americas

The IRC began its response to support Venezuelans in the region in 2018, supporting more than 350,000 people in Colombia to date. The IRC’s response has included components related to health care, education, economic recovery and development, protection and empowerment activities with women and children, access to information through the InfoPa’lante platform, as well as providing guidance on enrolment to health and education systems. The IRC has helped nearly 10,000 individuals going through the ETPV registration and subsequent steps in the process.

Download the report:

A Step Forward: Lessons from Colombia’s Temporary Protection Status for Venezuelans