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CGD in the News

Integrating Venezuelans into the Colombian labor market (Brookings)

December 3, 2018

By Dany Bahar, Meagan Dooley, and Cindy Huang

From the article:

Before leaving office in August 2018, outgoing Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos decreed that 442,462 undocumented Venezuelans living in Colombia—most of whom had arrived since 2015 when the massive exodus of Venezuelans throughout the continent accelerated—would be regularized, enabling them to receive residency and work permits.  This is in addition to the 376,572 Venezuelans already in the country with regular migration status.  This commendable action is the largest process of migrant and refugee work regularization ever seen in the region, perhaps in the world outside of Uganda. It not only demonstrates solidarity with the country’s Venezuelan neighbors, but it is also smart policy, given the massive economic opportunity these migrants could represent for the country.

Yet, successful integration of migrants into the labor force marks an unprecedented challenge for Colombia. Despite its recent admission to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Colombia still faces important development challenges of its own. It is important that policies designed to facilitate and support the integration process seek to maximize the potential benefits and mitigate the possible costs of migrant integration.

Read the full article and download the policy brief here.

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Photo of Cindy Huang
Co-Director of Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy and Senior Policy Fellow