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OAS General Secretariat Launches Report on the Situation of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees in Chile

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The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) today published a report on the "Situation of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees in Chile." The report was prepared based on the visit made to Chile by the team from the Office of the General Secretariat for the Crisis of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees.

The report indicates that Chile is placed third among the countries receiving Venezuelan migrants and refugees. The 455,494 Venezuelan citizens currently in Chile represent 30.5% of the foreign population in the country, and constitute the largest foreign community, surpassing the Peruvian community, which for 28 years had held that position.

"This Office recognizes that Chile has responded well, in a humanitarian manner and with political will, by receiving more than 455,000 Venezuelans who have been exiled by the Maduro regime and who have found in this country the opportunity to reinvent themselves and help their families in Venezuela,” indicates the report.

The document highlights the interest of the Chilean State in promoting a regular, safe and orderly migration policy through migration instruments such as the Democratic Responsibility Visa (VRD, for its initials in Spanish), preventing xenophobia and allowing the total insertion of Venezuelans into Chilean society through access to labor markets. In fact, the report describes as an “example for the region.”

Despite these efforts, the Office noted with concern the implementation of immigration restrictions such as the Tourist Consular Visa and the existence of certain administrative barriers that are hindering the entry, regularization and integration of Venezuelans in recent months.

"Among other things, it is considered essential to guarantee access to the refugee application system and try to streamline the processes of immigration procedures such as visa applications, especially in cases of family reunification," said David Smolansky, Commissioner of the OAS Secretary General for the Venezuelan Migrant and Refugee Crisis.

The mission of the OAS General Secretariat Office to address the Venezuelan migrant and refugee crisis, coordinated by Smolansky, is to work with OAS member countries to address the situation of more than 5.1 million Venezuelans who have fled to other countries, and which represent more than 17% of the population of Venezuela. Since the publication of the regional report in June 2019, this Office has expressed the need to create the bases for a regional consensus that allows the permanent protection of Venezuelan migrants throughout the hemisphere and that Venezuelans receive refugee status according to the Declaration of Cartagena.

This is the fourth report that the OAS General Secretariat has published on the situation of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in destination countries. In December 2019, the report on Brazil was published; In January 2020, the report on Costa Rica was published; and in May 2020 the report on Bolivia was published.