Venezuelan migrants boosting South American countries’ economies: Report

Nearly 8 million Venezuelan migrants escaping poverty and political turmoil have become an economic boon for South American countries, according to studies by international financial institutions. The influx of foreign workers is projected to boost the economies of host nations in Latin America and the Caribbean by 0.10-0.25% annually from 2017 to 2030. The World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, OECD, and UNHCR suggest that increasing job opportunities for Venezuelan migrants could enhance these economic benefits further.

The Venezuelan migration crisis, surpassing the scale of Syria’s displacement, began in 2014 due to economic collapse, leading to inflation, poverty, and insecurity. While the migrants are often criticized for straining healthcare systems, the studies indicate that their contribution to the labor force benefits local economies by filling undesirable jobs, stimulating local demand, and increasing tax revenue.

The arrival of 3 million Venezuelans in Colombia has formalized the economy as migrants tend to take low-paid official jobs. The researchers highlight the positive impact on the tax base and addressing labor shortages in specific sectors, such as bus driving. Although public services for migrants increase state spending temporarily, the economic growth eventually surpasses these costs.

The studies emphasize the potential for politicians to boost economic growth by integrating migrants more effectively into local communities and job markets. While South American countries have introduced permits allowing legal work for Venezuelans, xenophobia remains a barrier. Discrimination, particularly against women and young people, hinders job opportunities for migrants.

Despite facing challenges, Venezuelan migrants contribute culturally, bringing about a socio-cultural transformation. They enhance gastronomy with European flavors and contribute to greater diversity in live music. The studies underscore the importance of specific policies promoting the economic inclusion of migrants to fully realize the benefits they bring to host countries.

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