As of spring 2021, Colombia had hosted around 5.5 million people fleeing Venezuela, the majority of whom have migrated since 2015. Colombia has responded comprehensively to this unprecedented influx of migrants and refugees, further intensifying its efforts to dealing with a migration crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and making special efforts to mitigate its effects on local host communities.


As of March 2021, around 1.7 million Venezuelans were based in Colombia, or about 32% of all Venezuelan migrants in Latin America. The impact of the crisis is geographically concentrated: around 25 municipalities in Colombia (out of a total of 1,122) host 70% of all Venezuelan migrants. For Colombia, however, the long-term economic benefits of this migration have the potential to outweigh the short-term costs. Recognizing that properly managed migration is a development opportunity, since 2015 Colombia has remained committed to exemplary openness policies for the social and economic integration of Venezuelan migrants. These efforts include: (i) issuance of work, transit and residence permits; (ii) widening access to health, education and social programs and housing assistance; (iii) invest for the benefit of both host and migrant communities; and (iv) protect vulnerable populations through family reunification, child protection and human trafficking prevention programs.


Since the start of the Venezuelan exodus in 2015, the World Bank has mobilized its global expertise to respond to situations of human mobility and support host countries working to integrate migrant populations. The Bank has supported the Colombian government with analytical capacity, financial and technical assistance and mobilization power, improving the government’s response to the unprecedented situation through numerous projects, notably Response to the Venezuelan migration crisis in Colombia. and SPF Colombia: COVID-19 response for Migrants from Venezuela and host communities. The Bank’s support aligns with several broader strategies, in particular the World Bank Group Strategy on Fragility, Conflict and Violence and the COVID-19 Approach Document. The Colombian government’s response to the large-scale exodus from Venezuela has focused on raising humanitarian awareness and ensuring the long-term integration of migrants and refugees. The impact of the crisis is multidimensional, as the massive influx of migrants has put pressure on many Colombian institutions and systems. Nonetheless, evidence suggests that the shock of such migration, if well managed, can bring development opportunities to LAC countries.


The World Bank has responded to the Venezuelan migration crisis by supporting Colombia through a combination of funding, analysis and partnership.

The World Bank has been one of Colombia’s main funding sources, providing support through four approved projects.

  • Colombia became a beneficiary of the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF), becoming the first country outside the Middle East to access this fund, which provides countries with concessional financing for projects aimed at supporting migrant communities and d ‘Home.

  • Colombia’s first project, approved in 2019, the second Sustainable Development, Competitiveness and Migration (DPF) policy funding includes support for government policies aimed at regularizing and integrating Venezuelan migrants, including enabling 115 012 Venezuelans to access the services of the National Employment Agency. Some 281,557 migrants, including 139,586 women, have obtained temporary residence permits (Permiso Especial de Permanencia, or PEP).

  • The second approved project, Improving the Quality and Efficiency of Health Services in Colombia, aims to improve the health system. With the support of the project, in June 2021, a total of 196,000 Venezuelans were enrolled in the general health social security system.

  • The third project, Project Colombia: Resilient and Inclusive Housing, aims to increase access to decent housing for migrants and host communities.

  • Fourth, the State and Peacebuilding Fund (SPF) Colombia: response to COVID-19 for migrants from Venezuela and host communities, will deepen the World Bank’s collaboration with the United Nations system and bridge the gap between humanitarian aid and development, benefiting some 75,500 migrants.

In October 2018, the World Bank published Migration from Venezuela to Colombia: impacts and response strategy in the medium and long term. The report marked a fundamental step in understanding the impact of migration to date, creating a roadmap of actions and public policies to address the challenges and maximize the benefits of this phenomenon. The report informed key policy-making processes in the country, including:

  • The Venezuelan migration strategy, formulated within the framework of CONPES 3950, which identifies 69 specific actions organized under two main pillars: (i) taking care of and integrating migrants, and (ii) strengthening institutional capacities for a coordinated response.

  • The National Development Plan 2018-2022, Pact for Colombia, Pact for Equity, which establishes as a priority of the government the social and economic integration in Colombia of the migrant population of Venezuela.

  • Thanks to its impact, the analysis has become an international model for similar analyzes in Peru (2019), Ecuador (2020) and Chile (2021).

The Bank is also strengthening its support for improving data collection and analysis as part of the Venezuelan Refugee-Like Population: Data Collection and Analysis to Support Policy Making initiative.

Contribution of the Bank Group

The World Bank has allocated US $ 1.6 billion to support Colombia’s response to the Venezuelan migration crisis. The World Bank’s program is fully aligned with the Country Partnership Framework (2020-2025) and is based on the findings of the report Migration from Venezuela to Colombia: impacts and response strategy in the medium and long term, the Venezuelan migration strategy formulated within the framework of CONPES 3950 and the 2018-2022 national development plan, Pact for Colombia, Pact for equity. Through its technical and financial activities, the World Bank is addressing some of the most critical recommendations for managing the migration shock and making it development opportunities for all. The Bank’s response has been cross-sectoral, responding to needs at all levels of government and adapting a short-term humanitarian response to a medium and long-term development response.

The partners

The World Bank has intensified its traditionally close collaboration with development partners in Colombia. The program complements the efforts of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Latin American Development Bank (CAF) and several bilateral development partners and United Nations agencies. More specifically, the Analysis of the impacts of Venezuelan migration in Colombia was carried out in close partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), while Responding to the Venezuelan migration crisis in Colombia included activities on the fight against discrimination and xenophobia coordinated with several United Nations agencies, humanitarian partners and civil society groups. Finally, the SPF Colombia project: COVID-19 response for migrants from Venezuela and host communities is implemented by the World Food Program, and the projects Improve the quality and efficiency of health services in Colombia and the Proposed Colombia: Social and economic integration of The DPF for migrants integrates parallel financing with the IDB.


The main beneficiaries of Bank support for projects aimed at expanding financial access are Venezuelan migrants and refugees and people living in marginalized and underserved host communities. This assistance includes:

  • PEP temporary residence permits were issued to 281,557 of the 442,462 Venezuelan migrants identified by the Administrative Register of Venezuelan Migrants in Colombia (RAMV), of which 139,586 were women.

  • A total of 115,012 Venezuelans can now access the services of the National Employment Agency.

  • A total of 196,000 Venezuelans, in June 2021, were enrolled in the health system.

Moving forward

The Bank-supported program helped pave the way for effective recovery from a forced displacement shock, turning challenges into longer-term development opportunities. DPF Colombia: Social and Economic Integration of Migrants is expected to be presented to the Board in November 2021, becoming the first DPL focused 100% on forced displacement and migration ever endorsed by the World Bank. This project aims to support the social and economic integration of Venezuelan migrants in host areas by supporting policies such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), an instrument providing regular status to Venezuelans for ten years, and the downstream integration and access to services, including COVID-19 vaccines, which complement technical assistance resources. In line with the objectives of CPP Colombia, the World Bank plans to continue supporting the integration of migrants and refugees as a marginalized population through policy dialogue and loans, underpinned by solid analytical work and research. advice. Faster integration of Venezuelans into Colombia’s social and economic fabric represents an excellent opportunity to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and enable a more rapid and sustainable recovery.

Two other projects are expected to have a significant impact. The Colombia: Resilient and Inclusive Housing project will provide access to improved urban living conditions to approximately 33,556 Venezuelan migrant households, and by September 2022, the DPF Colombia: Social and Economic Integration of Migrants will provide access to 1.1 million of Venezuelans on TPS and Vaccines against covid19.

Learn more


World Bank Response to Venezuelan Migration


Colombian response


El éxodo venezolano en la pandemic, seremos indiferentes?

Migración: una oportunidad para América Latina

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