The international community has recognized the recent announcement from the Colombian Government regarding the implementation of the Statute of Temporary Protection for Venezuelan migrants. It is no secret that our country has become the main destination for this population, who have decided to leave their country as a result of the difficult economic, social, and political situation that they are facing.
The exodus of Venezuelan nationals arriving to our country continues (approximately 1,800,000 Venezuelans are in the territory according to official figures) and so that these nationals can remain in the country in a regular and ordered way, the Statute of Temporary Protection will be created. The objective of this mechanism is to implement migratory flexibilization measures focused on widening the protection of fundamental rights. Based on these measures, tools will be provided for the identification and registration of the Venezuelan migrant population to plan and design public policies in different spheres.
In addition, measures will be established based on the real situation of this migrant population, with a view to this group having access to the ordinary visa regime, allowing Venezuelans to accredit their stay in Colombia for the purposes of accumulating the required time to request a resident’s visa.
They will also be authorized to carry out any legal activity in Colombia, including the possibility to work.
The Statute of Temporary Protection will be valid for 10 years and will be aimed at Venezuelan migrants who are legally in Colombia, whether they are beneficiaries of an entry and stay permit, a temporary stay permit, a special stay permit, and those who are applying for refuge or are holders of an SC-2 safe-conduct pass. Those who are illegally in the country can benefit from the measure provided that they demonstrate that they were in Colombia as of January 31, 2021. Possibly, those Venezuelan migrants who enter the country legally during the first two years of the statute may be able to benefit from this special regime.
There are two elements in the statute project, namely: 1. The Single Registry for Venezuelan Migrants under the Temporary Protection Regime, whose objective will be to collect and update information for the design of public policies, and identify Venezuelan migrants; and 2. The Personal Protection Permit, which will be a migratory regularization and identification document mechanism, that will authorize the Venezuelan migrants to remain in Colombia.
As Colombians, we must accept migration as a reality. The illegal situation of this population exceeds 56% according to data reported by Migración Colombia, requiring exceptional measures to mitigate the impacts that occur as a consequence of the massive mobilization of people from the neighboring country to our territory for various years. The hosting, protection and social and economic integration of Venezuelan migrants is urgent. However, this can only materialize, reinforcing and completing in different aspects and on different levels, through other government policies on migration, humanitarian assistance, health, education, safety, and economic inclusion. These must be planned in a structural and harmonic way, so that in practice and in the long term, the effort is rewarded with wellbeing for society in general and economic growth.