Around 20,300 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR, the vast majority of whom are in a productive age.
Trinidad and Tobago continues to receive an outflow of Venezuelan refugees and migrants. 85.9% of UNHCR’s persons of concern are Venezuelan.
Applications for cash assistance highlight the increased risks faced by refugees and asylum-seekers. 95% of applicants reported to be struggling to meet their needs of rent and food.
The outflow of Venezuelans to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) continued in December despite borders remaining closed, through irregular and often life-threatening means. In one tragic incident, the bodies of over 30 Venezuelans were found after their boat reportedly capsized near the Venezuelan coast. The incident prompted a joint statement from UNHCR and IOM and an another statement from the OHCHR. Meanwhile, detentions and deportations of Venezuelans entering the country irregularly continued in December, as did legal cases in national courts challenging judgements made for the deportation of children, including of an 11-year-old girl who would have been separated from her mother. Additionally, nine out of 16 children who were detained in November, were released from state quarantine and reunited with their parents.
UNHCR and the government continued to provide much needed assistance and protection to vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers in T&T. Pending the issuance of an official notice,
Government authorities indicated that Venezuelans registered with the government are likely to have their documentation renewed into 2021, allowing them to remain and access employment in the country.
In addition, UNHCR conducted weekly field-missions registering persons with specific needs living in remote areas around T&T. Moreover, UNHCR also facilitated the resettlement of two refugee families to Australia in December, despite the many challenges amid COVID-19 travel restrictions.