A Step Forward: Lessons from Colombia’s Temporary Protection Status for Venezuelans

Publication language
Date published
30 Oct 2023
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Lessons papers
Conflict, violence & peace, Social protection

Colombia has been a lifeline for millions of Venezuelans who have left their country due to insecurity, instability and violence.

Since 2021, Colombia has carried out an ambitious regularization program for Venezuelans in the country, providing many with ten years of migratory status, guarantees of rights, access to essential services and labor markets, and the opportunity to apply for residency.

The International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) response for Venezuelans in the region has assisted more than 350,000 people in Colombia with health, education, livelihood, and economic development support, enrollment in government health and education systems, as well as protection and empowerment activities with women and children. IRC has helped nearly 10,000 individuals going through regularization registration and subsequent steps in the process.

This report is based on IRC’s experience with the regularization process, IRC assessments of humanitarian needs and integration barriers for Venezuelans in Colombia, and interviews conducted in June 2023 with IRC clients and staff across Colombia, national and local government officials, U.N. agency staff, and leaders of INGOs, civil society and businesses.

The report analyzes the successes and challenges Colombia has encountered in turning its generous regularization offer on paper into a reality. These lessons are instructive for governments, international organizations, regional bodies, donor and financial institutions, and civil society groups considering, implementing, or supporting regularizations. An executive summary of the report is available in Spanish.