Studies have found that Venezuelan migrants are helping to stimulate the economies of various South American countries.

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Two studies from prominent international financial institutions have discovered that the influx of approximately 8 million Venezuelan migrants, escaping poverty and political uncertainty, is positively impacting the economies of neighboring South American countries.

The research states that from 2017 to 2030, the foreign workforce in Latin America and the Caribbean will boost the economies of their main host nations by an average of 0.10-0.25% annually.

The World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, OECD, and UNHCR have concluded that allowing Venezuelans migrants greater access to jobs could lead to even greater economic benefits.

Ronal Rodríguez, a researcher from Colombia, studying the effects of Venezuelan immigration at Rosario University in Bogotá, states, “This research confirms what we were already aware of: migration can be beneficial for business. Welcoming migrants contributes to the improvement of our country and enables us to keep progressing. It is as straightforward as that.”

The crisis of Venezuelan migration has become the biggest ever seen in Latin America, surpassing the number of individuals displaced due to the ongoing conflict in Syria. In 2014, as Venezuela’s economy crumbled, its citizens started escaping in large numbers, resulting in widespread inflation, poverty, and insecurity.

Over 6.5 million individuals out of the 7.7 million who have fled from Venezuela have migrated to Latin American and Caribbean countries, with a significant number choosing to settle in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru with hopes for a better future.

According to economists, while Venezuelans are frequently accused of burdening healthcare systems and economies in the region, their presence in the labor force actually has a positive impact on local economies. This is due to their willingness to take on jobs that may be considered undesirable, as well as their increased consumption of goods and services, leading to higher tax revenue.

According to the study, providing public services for migrants leads to a government expenditure ranging from 0.1-0.5% of GDP. However, these costs decrease rapidly and are eventually outweighed by the boost in economic growth.

According to Rodríguez, the influx of 3 million Venezuelans has contributed to the growth of Colombia’s official economy, as these migrants are more willing to take low-paying jobs in the formal sector, unlike Colombians who often prefer to engage in unreported, under-the-table work in the informal economy.

Venezuelans have also taken up positions and filled job openings for undesirable roles, such as bus drivers, to address labor shortages.

Rodríguez stated that this contributes to our taxable income, which holds special significance in light of our aging society.

The nations of South America are facing challenges with their economy, with the World Bank forecasting a 2% growth rate for the region in 2023, which is lower than any other area worldwide.

Researchers discovered that politicians have the potential to accelerate their sluggish economic growth by effectively incorporating immigrants into their surrounding communities and workforce.

Many countries in South America have implemented practical measures such as special permits to legally employ Venezuelans. However, xenophobia continues to hinder their ability to secure jobs. A significant number of Venezuelans, specifically women and young individuals, have experienced discrimination, with percentages ranging from 26% to 40%.

Many Venezuelan migrants are often compelled to engage in informal labor, despite having qualifications and expertise that go beyond the jobs they are able to find recognition for in other countries. Due to limited job prospects, those who have received extensive training in fields such as law may resort to working as servers in order to sustain themselves while living in a new country, ultimately limiting their income and economic contributions to their host nation.

According to Carolina Mejía Mantilla, one of the authors of the study conducted by the World Bank and UNHCR, specific policies promoting the economic inclusion of individuals are necessary in order to see these benefits come to fruition.

Rodríguez stated that in Latin America, Venezuelan migrants are typically portrayed negatively in the media, causing their cultural influence to be disregarded. This goes beyond their economic contributions.

Rodríguez stated that in addition to economic changes, Venezuelans are also causing a social and cultural shift. They have enriched Colombian gastronomy by combining European tastes that go beyond the country’s typical cuisine, and have added to the range of live music options available.


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