Migration is a global challenge that requires coordinated solutions and shared responsibilities. Since 2015, more than 7 million Venezuelans have left their country and 2.6 million have sought refuge in Colombia. Colombia’s policy of integration, protection and regularization of migrants has set a global example of solidarity, allowing Venezuelans to apply for a 10-year residency permit under the Temporary Protection Status.
In response to the migration crisis, the European Union (EU) has activated its humanitarian aid mechanisms to support Colombia in receiving migrants and refugees. As a follow-up to the humanitarian response, the EU made development cooperation resources available for the socioeconomic integration of the migrant population and host communities in Colombia. Since then, we have invested close to COP 287 billion (58 million euros) in support of Colombia’s efforts in the areas of regularization, protection, socioeconomic integration, access to housing, health and education, and urban management of migration. This is a joint bid to enhance migration opportunities. The ongoing project also supports initiatives to foster good coexistence between host communities and migrants.
Despite these achievements, challenges remain. For this reason, following up on commitments announced at past solidarity conferences, the EU High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission (HRVP), Josep Borrell, announced that the EU will launch this year a complementary action for the socio-economic integration of migrants and host communities with an investment of 50 billion pesos (or 10 million euros). This action is expected to contribute to the employability and entrepreneurship of the migrant population and Colombians, particularly those who face greater challenges due to their gender or disability status. ARVP Borrell made the announcement from the Santa Fe neighborhood of Bogota, during his visit to the Scalabrini Integral Center for Attention to Migrants.
The intervention will be carried out with two approaches: a public policy approach at the national level with an addition of 20 billion pesos to support the policy for the socioeconomic integration of the migrant population and host communities, and another comprehensive approach of 30 billion pesos to generate partnerships with local and national authorities, the private sector, civil society and communities. This second approach will develop and follow up on the existing project financed by the EU and Germany and implemented by the German cooperation (GIZ), of which the Integral Center for Attention to Migrants, where the announcement was made, is a part.
The public policy approach aims to involve the Trade, Industry and Tourism, Social Inclusion and Labor sectors to contribute to the socioeconomic integration of migrants and host communities. The comprehensive approach will focus on generating green and decent employment and economic opportunities for disadvantaged groups. The intervention will prioritize the socioeconomic integration of migrants and host communities and support their entrepreneurial initiatives while creating conditions for integration into society without leaving anyone behind.