a group of people walk on what appears to be a bridge, closest to the camera is a woman carrying a plastic bag full of supplies and a child on her hip, she is wearing grey denim pants and a black tank top, her hair is tied back in a tight bun

A Venezuelan mother holds her child as she crosses the Simon Bolivar Bridge to Colombia, in January 2019. © UNHCR/Siegfried Modola

Joint UNHCR-IOM press release

Geneva, 19 February, 2019 – The number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela worldwide now stands at 3.4 million, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, announced today.

According to data from national immigration authorities and other sources, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are hosting an estimated 2.7 million Venezuelans, while other regions account for the rest.

On average, during 2018, an estimated 5,000 people left Venezuela every day in search of protection or a better life.

Colombia hosts the highest number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, with over 1.1 million. It is followed by Peru, with 506,000, Chile 288,000, Ecuador 221,000, Argentina 130,000, and Brazil 96,000. Mexico and countries in Central America and the Caribbean are also hosting significant numbers of refugees and migrants from Venezuela.

“The countries of the region have shown tremendous solidarity with refugees and migrants from Venezuela, and implemented resourceful solutions to help them. But these figures underscore the strain on host communities and the continued need for support from the international community, at a time when the world’s attention is on political developments inside Venezuela,” said Eduardo Stein, joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

Latin American countries have granted some 1.3 million residence permits and other forms of regular status to Venezuelans and reinforced their asylum systems in order to process an unprecedented number of asylum applications. Since 2014, over 390,000 asylum claims have been lodged by Venezuelans – over 232,000 in 2018 alone.

With rising numbers, the needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and the communities hosting them continue to increase. Governments in the region have strengthened their national response and are cooperating – through the Quito process – to enhance the assistance and protection of Venezuelan nationals and facilitate their legal, social and economic inclusion. The next regional meeting of this process will take place in Quito in the first week of April.

To complement these efforts, a humanitarian Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) for refugees and migrants from Venezuela was launched last December, targeting 2.2 million Venezuelans and 500,000 people in host communities in 16 countries.

For more information on this topic, please contact:


For IOM:

For background information please consult the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform website: R4V.info

Originally published by UNHCR on 22, February 2019

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