Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the world: 6.04 M Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean: 4.99 M
Starting in March 2020, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean adopted measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, including border closures and movement restrictions, which considerably limited the regular flow of refugees and migrants.
As a result, in 2021, we have seen a considerable increase of irregular flows requiring Governments and R4V actors to adapt their responses to the protection, humanitarian and integration needs, including through additional tools to include refugees and migrants from Venezuela in irregular situations in their population figure updates for statistical purposes, and for extending much required assistance.
Over the past year, refugees and migrants from Venezuela have become even more vulnerable, including because of the loss of their already limited social and economic support to cover basic needs, especially in vital areas such as shelter, food, protection and healthcare. The severe impact of the current situation has caused some to consider returning to their home country, including through initiatives supported by the Government of Venezuela.
For those on the move and in densely populated areas, physical distancing measures became virtually impossible to implement which has led to additional stigma by host communities, including negative perceptions associated with a fear of the spread of the virus.
In the context of the development of the comprehensive Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) for 2022, the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform (R4V) has been actively coordinating with governments across the region. In addition to ensuring that their priorities and planning projections are taken into account, these consultations included the development of accurate figures of refugees and migrants from Venezuela currently in their countries.
What is the rationale behind the increase in the recent number of refugees/migrants from Venezuela?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, governments in the region have implemented measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, such as movement restrictions, borders closures and physical distancing. While such measures could be expected to result in a decrease in the mobility of Venezuelans within and between countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the November update of population figures of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in the region, reflects increases in some countries, based on the information provided by the authorities of the concerned govern- ments. In November 2021, the number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela outside their country amounted to 6.04 million, an increase of 371,016 when compared with the Sempember update on R4V.info . This does not mean that 371,016 persons left Venezuela in the last two months. Rather, a number of governments have recently updated their figures in the context of the RMRP 2022 planning exercise and corresponding consultations. Specifically, as of October 2021, the authorities of Peru, Mexico and Ecuador reviewed existing methodologies which take into account Venezuelans who are in an irregular situation.
The efforts to include Venezuelans in irregular situations more accurately in the population figures in the aforemen- tioned countries is considered a positive step that not only leads to more precise planning by humanitarian partners, but also serves to provide a more transparent and inclusive reflection of the overall situation of refugees and migrants from Venezuela.