Venezuela situation

Venezuelan woman wearing a pink skirt is carrying her young son on her back
Venezuelan refugees and migrants live in isolated area in Mabaruma, Guyana.   © UNHCR/Diana Diaz

Latest updates

March 2023
published 2 days ago
28-Mar-23
published 3 days ago
March 2023
published 3 weeks ago
28-Feb-23
published 1 month ago
December 2022
published 3 months ago
November 2022
published 3 months ago
June 2022
published 9 months ago
April - June 2022
published 9 months ago

Global Appeal 2023

2023 population planning figures* 

  • Refugees and asylum-seekers: 770,000  

  • Refugee and IDP returnees: 50,000 

  • Others of concern to UNHCR: 3.2 million 

  • Other people in need of international protection: 6.23 million 

*Figures aligned to RMRP 2023-2024 and do not include Venezuelan refugees and migrants outside Latin America and the Caribbean. 

  

2023 situation overview  

Despite expanded access to asylum, other legal stay arrangements and local integration efforts, limited access to documentation, basic services, livelihoods opportunities, and rising xenophobia, population outflows from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela continue across Latin America and the Caribbean, with increased onward movements towards Central America, Mexico and the United States of America (through the Darien Gap) which are anticipated to prevail throughout 2023. 

In 2023, UNHCR will prioritize critical activities including assistance, identification, and referral to services for those at heightened risk. UNHCR and partners will continue to support national efforts to expand access to asylum, regular stay arrangements and documentation for Venezuelans. Enhanced advocacy and sustained support will be provided to host countries to further refugees and migrants’ integration and inclusion in social protection programmes. 

The upcoming Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP 2023-24), developed through the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), co-led by UNHCR and IOM, estimates that there will be 5 million in-destination Venezuelans in need of humanitarian, protection and socioeconomic inclusion assistance by end-2023. UNHCR and IOM will continue to coordinate the efforts of more than 200 organizations involved in the R4V response to support the implementation of the RMRP across 17 countries. UNHCR and IOM will also bolster the governmental coordination of the Quito Process (a regional initiative of several Latin American countries that seeks to harmonize domestic policies in host countries) with the cooperation of the international community. 

UNHCR’s vision in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is that vulnerable population groups – including affected Venezuelans as well as persons in need of international protection – receive protection and enjoy enhanced prospects for solutions.  

In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the main populations of concern to UNHCR include vulnerable Venezuelans under the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), including boys, girls, adolescents, youth, women and indigenous peoples; refugees and asylum-seekers; and returnees. Special attention is afforded to populations at risk of, or found in, situations of human mobility. In the context of the humanitarian coordination architecture established in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, UNHCR leads the Protection Cluster and the Shelter, Energy and Non-Food Items (NFI) Cluster. 

Global Report 2021

2021 Year-end population figures 

  • 6 million* refugees and migrants from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela globally, of whom (83%) 4.99 million hosted in countries in Latin America and the Caribbean  

  • Refugees: 199,000 

  • Asylum seekers: 971,000 

  • 2.56 million residency or regular stay permits issued across the region 

*This figure includes Venezuelan migrants, refugees and asylum seekers reported through the Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. 

2021 Situation overview 

With the extension of COVID-19 border closures, refugees and migrants resorted to irregular crossings, often using smuggling networks and exposing themselves to heightened protection risks. With few specific protocols to allow access to territory during the pandemic, the available protection space was greatly reduced. 

More than 30% of Venezuelans in the region did not have access to regular stay arrangements, resulting in limited access to formal labour markets and social safety nets. This left many exposed to exploitation and abuse, eviction and homelessness, and in some cases detention or deportation. 

Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru initiated different types of regularization processes to provide Venezuelans with documentation and improve their access to rights. In 2021, more than 500,000 Venezuelan applicants were approved for some form of regular stay, and more than 3 million Venezuelans abroad could potentially benefit from regularization exercises. Colombia has registered more than 1.8 million applicants for Temporary Protection Status. 1.2 million of them completed biometric registration, and over 300,000 were approved and received their documentation.  

Chile incorporated a family reunification programme into its new immigration regulations and authorized the issuance of safe conduct for Venezuelans without documentation who qualified for family reunification or other exceptional humanitarian situations. Through the Government of Colombia’s “Children first” policy (“Primero la niñez”), over 70,000 children born to Venezuelan parents in Colombia received Colombian nationality, avoiding statelessness. Argentina passed a regulation facilitating access to temporary residence for Venezuelan children by waiving the requirement for presentation of a valid identity document. 

In Brazil and Mexico, over 68,000 people were relocated from regions where they had little prospect of economic integration to parts of the country where they were matched to available jobs. In Colombia, UNHCR promoted increased access to the labour market and financial services for Venezuelans who will receive Temporary Protection Status.  

In the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, UNHCR continued to support the implementation of the Humanitarian Response Plan and led the protection cluster, as well as the cluster responsible for shelter, energy and core relief items. Over the course of 2021, 1.9 million people, including host community members, people on the move or at risk of moving, and spontaneous returnees, were directly or indirectly assisted in 71 prioritized communities, especially in border areas, including access to community centres and temporary shelters, health services, and food assistance for the most vulnerable. UNHCR also provided technical assistance on shelter management and coordination and stepped-up assistance in reception areas, temporary shelters and public health facilities, while also supporting public health measures. 

Through its co-leading role in the R4V platform, UNHCR promoted a predictable and coordinated response to the challenges of increasing mixed and onward movements across the region. In the context of the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan, collective inter-agency efforts provided assistance and support to 3.3 million people in 17 countries. The Quito Process remained the central forum for intergovernmental coordination among host countries. Under the pro tempore presidency of Peru, 13 governments participated in the Process, along with 34 other actors, including UN organizations, cooperating States and international financial institutions which support the Group of Friends of the Quito Process.