Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia: Situational Report, October 2018
According to official government figures, by the end of October 2018 there were more than one million Venezuelans living in Colombia. This figure represents an increase of more than 2,500% compared to 39,000 at the end of 2015.
Of this number, 573,322 are in a regular situation, 240,596 are in the process of regularization and 218,098 are in an irregular situation. The needs of refugees and migrants are becoming increasingly urgent.
The Interagency Group for Mixed Migratory Flows (GIFMM) coordinates the response of the United Nations and NGOs, and supports the Colombian Government in responding to these needs.
This report reflects the response of the Interagency Group for Mixed Migratory Flows (GIFMM) for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, Colombian returnees, and host communities for the month of October 2018.
More than one million Venezuelan refugees and migrants have settled in border areas and urban centres throughout Colombia. 233,806 of the irregular 442,000 Venezuelans registered by the government in the RAMV exercise have obtained the Special Permit of Permanence (PEP).
In the last week of October there was an increase in the number of Venezuelans crossing the border with Ecuador due to the introduction of new regulations in Peru, with around 15,000 people crossing between Friday 26 to Sunday 28 October. The local GIFMM in Nariño continues to work with authorities at the border.
On October 19, the Ministry of Labor established a National Registry of Foreign Workers in Colombia (RUTEC for its Spanish acronym), highlighting the Government's commitment to regular and safe labor migration.
On October 20, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, announced that the Government will create a unique biometric registration system to identify Venezuelans arriving in Colombia.
Víctor Bautista, Director of the Development and Border Integration Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced the expansion of the Governmental Migration Management Committees to serve the more than 1 million Venezuelans in Colombia with access to information on health services, labor inclusion, protection and security. Local GIFMM teams will participate in these committees.
This month, the GIFMM presented the Government with a report on the situation of "walkers" in Colombia and its offer to respond, with contributions from UNHCR, IOM, CRC, WFP, UNICEF, OXFAM, OCHA and NRC. Refugees and Venezuelan migrants continue to walk across Colombia (known as "walkers") to main cities in Colombia, and onwards to other countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. The most direct route is from Cúcuta to the border with Ecuador (1,430 kilometres), taking more than a month to walk in difficult and dangerous conditions.