A boy from Venezuela dances on a red light in front of a line of cars in Bucaramanga, Colombia, 8 February 2018. Together with other three Venezuelans he tries to earn his money on the streets. Photo Credit: picture alliance via Getty Images

Society Colombia1. June 2021

Millions of Undocumented Migrants Get a Chance to Work, Settle and Dream

The Colombian government is granting temporary protected status for 10 years to close to a million undocumented Venezuelans, giving them the right to work legally without the need for a visa and to contribute to the prosperity of their host country.

“We gave Venezuelan migrants a license to dream,” says Lucas Gómez, Colombia’s presidential adviser on border matters. “By granting them temporary protected status (TPS) for 10 years, they have room to breathe.” The government predicts that thanks to this status, Venezuelans will contribute to the country’s productivity instead of being a burden.

More than 5.6 million Venezuelans left their country in the last five years, and the 1.74 million who migrated to Colombia – more than half of whom are undocumented – intend to stay long term. To ensure their integration is a success, Colombia needs financial aid from the international community and hopes that other neighboring countries will follow in its footsteps. Venezuelans who entered Colombia before 31 January 2021, legally or not, will be granted this special status. This will also be the case for migrants who cross the borders through legal channels until 1 July 2023. By the end of 2022, it is estimated that between three and five million Venezuelans will have settled in Colombia.


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