This flash update provides a snapshot of the current situation of refugees and migrants coming from Venezuela to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru following the introduction of a humanitarian visa for Venezuelans put in place by the Ecuadorian Government. It includes updates on the regional movements observed and the preparedness and response put in place by the aforementioned countries. This flash update is produced by the technical team of the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela.
On July 26, the Government of Ecuador publicly stated that it would be enforcing new entry requirements for Venezuelan citizens in its territory. The announced measure establishes the following procedures:
• The regularization of all Venezuelans that have entered Ecuador up to 26 July 2019. The regularization process will start in October and will benefit Venezuelans that have entered Ecuador through regular channels, carrying a valid passport and that do not have any criminal records.
• The requirement for a visa to enter Ecuador to all Venezuelans, to be enforced as of 26 August at midnight. As of this date, all Venezuelan citizens wishing to enter Ecuador will need an Exceptional Temporary Residence Visa on humanitarian grounds. Consulates in Caracas, Bogotá and Lima will be able to issue the document.
The announcement of this new entry requirements was followed by an increased number of Venezuelans arriving at the Ecuadorian borders leading to congestions and long waits at the Colombian side of the Rumichaca and San Miguel border crossings. Figures from the Ecuadorian migration authorities showed that during weeks ahead of the implementation of the measure, arrivals increased to a daily average of 3,000 entries, with a peak of 6,000 arrivals on 24 August.
The number of arrivals in Peru also increased during the days prior to the implementation of the new measure reaching 800 daily arrivals, up from the 400 daily entries registered since the introduction of the humanitarian visa requirement in Peru on June 15.
Colombian and Ecuadorian authorities, together with the national coordination platforms for the response to refugees and migrants from Venezuela, implemented contingency plans to provide the necessary orientation and information to those arriving at the borders, identify cases in need of special assistance and ensure a comprehensive and coordinated response.
As of August 28, the number of entries to Ecuador from the northern borders has drastically decreased and there are small groups with Venezuelans who remain in the Colombian side of the border trying to plan the next steps of their journey. Individuals not carrying a visa to enter Ecuador are not being allowed to access the territory.
In this context, Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, through a statement published on August 292 , exhorted countries in the region “to continue to articulate, coordinate and harmonize their policies and to exchange information and good practices through the Quito Process, which as a non-binding group has brought together Latin American and Caribbean countries affected by the outflow of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.”