Colombia Grants Citizenship and Work Permits to Venezuelan Refugees

February 7th, 2020

Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Colombia has pledged to be the most educated country in Latin America by 2025. It has laid out several initiatives to achieve this goal which we covered in a blog post last year.

Colombia is also facing an influx of refugees from its neighboring Venezuela. According to UN Refugee Agency, there are more than 1.6 million Venezuelans living in Colombia and approximately 60% lack a regular status. The UN predicts the number of Venezuelans in Colombia to rise to 2.4 million by the end of 2020.

How is Colombia addressing the refugees from Venezuelan?

Work Permit – Colombia is offering migrants work permits in order to bring them into the legal economy. They are offering one kind of permit that renews the visas given to migrants who entered Colombia before November 29, 2019. The second type of visa is given to Venezuelans with formal job offers.

Citizenship – According to an August 5, 2019 report from the New York Times, “Colombia will give citizenship to more than 24,000 undocumented children of Venezuelan refugees born in the country, a rare humanitarian measure amid tightening migration policies elsewhere in the hemisphere.” Colombia will issue passports to babies born to Venezuelan parents on its territory from August 2015 until August 2021.

Access to Healthcare and Education – These permits allow Venezuelan migrants to have access to healthcare and education in Colombia.

Colombia sees this approach as a more effective way of addressing the Venezuelan refugee crisis. It argues that is a more humane and economically sound approach rather than closing its borders and cracking down on undocumented refugees which only perpetuate human trafficking and its illegal revenue stream.


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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit

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