An estimated 900,000 Venezuelan migrants and refugees residing in Colombia will be offered protective status in the country for 10-years as part of a “Regularization Program” announced on Monday between the government of President Iván Duque and United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
The decree will formalize employment conditions for thousands of undocumented laborers and those working illegally in the country. The program will also facilitate Resident Visa applications by the state’s immigration authority Migración Colombia.
The Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan migrants (ETPV) is a road map for other South American nations to legalize the conditions of 6 million migrants, claims the United Nations. “We hope other countries follow by example,” remarked President Duque, accompanied by representatives of the diplomatic corps. “This step allows us to have clarity with the international community, and to call upon the international community.”
High Commissioner Grandi added that the government’s “humanitarian gesture” is the most important on the continent since the 1984 Cartagena Declaration on Refugees. “The initiative is an extraordinary display of humanity, commitment to human rights and pragmatism,” highlighted Grandi.
The ETPV applies to all Venezuelans who arrived in Colombia before January 2021. According to Migración Colombia, an estimated 1.8 million Venezuelans currently reside in the country, almost one million without a defined immigration status.