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Labour migration

ILO supports Venezuelan migrants and refugees

The initiative launched with an initial ILO funding of US$ 2 million will aim at the socio-economic integration of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.

News | 07 May 2019
© Siegfried Modola/ACNUR
LIMA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) announced that it will launch a series of urgent interventions aimed at responding to the challenge of the socio-economic integration of Venezuelans arriving in other countries of Latin America.

According to UN estimates until March, some 3.7 million people had left their homes in Venezuela as a result of the worsening social, economic, human rights and political situation. This is the largest displacement of population in the modern history of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Countries in the region have so far shown great solidarity, providing 1.3 million Venezuelans with temporary residence permits and access to the labour markets. However, the capacity to respond to such an influx of people is limited, and as a result institutions and local communities are now under enormous strains.

Additionally, many Venezuelan women, men and children are in an irregular situation, which makes them vulnerable to various forms of exploitation, abuse, violence and discrimination.

The ILO has committed US$ 2 million of its un-earmarked voluntary funds (Regular Budget Supplementary Account) to kick-start seed interventions related to the socio-economic integration of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Ecuador (Quito and Guayaquil), Colombia (Barranquilla and Cali) and Peru (north of Lima).

In the three selected countries, the following activities will be carried out:
  • Collect and systematise data on existing skills to create work profiles of displaced Venezuelans to facilitate labour market inclusion.;
  • Support the creation of enterprises led by migrants and refugees who have the skills, abilities and motivations to be entrepreneurs, in both urban and rural areas;
  • Raise awareness to promote the fair participation of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the labour market and ensure that other groups of workers are not disadvantaged;
  • Conduct value chain analyses to determine job generation potential in specific sectors and initiate pilot interventions.
During the implementation of the activities the social partners (workers 'and employers' organizations) will be involved and the participation of local communities will be ensured. At the same time, there will be policy recommendations to ensure decent and productive employment strategies.

Beyond this, the ILO is making an inter-institutional appeal to fill the financing gap of US$ 8.7 million in voluntary funds in order to cover the implementation of the Socioeconomic Integration Component in the framework of a joint ILO-IOM- FAO-OAS strategy, which is expected to meet the needs of migrants, refugees and host communities.

The ILO response is part of the regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP), developed by 95 organizations in line with governments’ priorities. The plan addresses the protection, assistance and integration needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the affected states of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The ILO, through its Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Lima, Peru, has taken on a coordination role in the area of intervention on Socioeconomic and Cultural Integration within the Platform for Inter-institutional Regional Coordination (R4V) of the United Nations System established in 2018, under the coordination of UNHCR and IOM.