Colombian President Iván Duque announced that they would give protected status to almost one million undocumented Venezuelan migrants residing in their country.
Duque said that the protection will last 10 years to allow them to work and have a normal life in Colombia.
Colombia’s migration authority said that 1.7 million Venezuelans now live in Colombia but 966,000 do not have legal status.
“We hope that other countries follow our example,” said Duque.
Aside from the protection, Colombia is also encouraging migrants and asylum seekers to enter the country through formal checkpoints.
Humanitarian groups said that they welcomed Colombia’s decision to welcome the migrants.
“Every day the needs of Venezuelans in Colombia are growing, exacerbated by the effects of the [coronavirus] pandemic,” said Marianne Menjivar, the International Rescue Committee’s Colombia and Venezuela director.
Despite the praises, Sergio Guzman, director of Colombia Risk Analysis, a risk consultancy firm in Bogota raised concerns that Colombia does not receive much aid funding for refugees, unlike other countries.
“Colombia is underfunded, facing a pronounced fiscal deficit, having to sell government assets to finance its current spending levels, which are bound to grow with additional demand from Venezuelan citizens,” warned Guzman
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