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Venezuelan Migrants Drive USD 529.1M Boost to Colombia’s Economy: IOM Study

Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Colombia accounted for a USD 529.1 million economic impact in the country in 2022, according to a new study by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This highlights the significant economic contribution of Venezuelan migrants and refugees across Latin America and the Caribbean.   

“Migration acts as a driver of development, and these studies provide empirical evidence supporting this and show how migration can foster growth in the economic and social force in host countries,” said Diego Beltrand, IOM’s Special Envoy for the regional response to the outflows of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees.  

The study, The Fiscal Impact of Venezuelan Migration in Colombia: Reality versus Potential, show that the fiscal impact in 2022 represented almost 2 percent of the total tax revenue in the country and is projected to potentially increase to USD 804.3 million with full regularization of Venezuelans by 2023.  

A notable aspect of the study is the high employment rate of Venezuelan migrants. 90 per cent of the working-age population is employed and 20 per cent are educated. However, only 18 percent are employed in their respective fields, with many working in informal sectors, limiting income generation. 

Additional research conducted in Aruba, Costa Rica, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Peru reinforces the positive impact of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and is notable in Panama, where Venezuelan entrepreneurs have invested over USD 1.8 billion in the last decade, creating approximately 40,000 jobs, 70 per cent of which are held by Panamanians.  As of April 2024, there are 7.7 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees worldwide, 6.6 million of whom live in Latin America and the Caribbean.   

The study further highlights that youth migrants encounter barriers to accessing work opportunities, with women having lower employment rates than men. Furthermore, despite efforts by development actors and financial organizations to enhance employment prospects and public services for migrants and refugees, difficulties in validating their professional qualifications, discrimination and xenophobia sometimes impede their socio-economic and integration.  

The findings of this study, conducted in collaboration with the Business Chamber of Venezuelans Abroad (CAVEX), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and Foundation ideas for Peace (FIP), mark a pivotal moment in recognizing the transformative potential of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in fostering inclusive communities across Latin America and the Caribbean. They lay the foundation for the implementation of policies and initiatives to promote their integration and sustainable development in the region.   

Source: IOM