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Colombia: Does the Venezuelan exodus produce more insecurity and unemployment?

Higher costs on the public health system and informality are the consequences of the massive Venezuelan migration

Colombia: Does the Venezuelan exodus produce more insecurity and unemployment?

Leer en español: Colombia: ¿El éxodo venezolano produce más inseguridad y desempleo?

The Venezuelan exodus has generated greater pressure in the Colombian labor market, has deteriorated citizen security, and has affected the public security service. The situation is experienced with greater incidence in the border of Cúcuta.

The deterioration of Venezuela's economic conditions, inflation, low oil production, and the increase in poverty are factors that influence in the arrival of the Venezuelan diaspora towards Colombia. Cúcuta is one of the departments with the greatest impact of this migratory phenomenon; both unemployment and informality are daily situations in this department.

The last report of the National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia, Dane (in Spanish), revealed that unemployment in Cúcuta, in February 2018, reached 18.7% and the national figure registered 10.8%. The border city was ranked first in the cities with the highest number of unemployed people.

The executive president of the Chamber of Commerce of Cúcuta, Carlos Luna, stressed that it is essential to elaborate a more complete socioeconomic policy for the Colombian border, "it is also necessary - in a short time - to respond to the situation that the city is experiencing in the last years with the migration of Venezuelans", he said.

The Venezuelan exodus continues to displace the workforce, and it also generates more informal labor in Cúcuta and Colombia.

More insecurity

A report by the National Association of Financial Institutions, Anif (in Spanish) -one of the most prestigious centers of economic thought in the country-, revealed that Venezuelan migration also continues to bring consequences to Colombia in terms of security.

"There are thousands of people who affect the daily work of many border areas, settling in parks and sidewalks, deteriorating security and citizen transit. There is some evidence of increased recruitment of drug traffickers and the ELN guerrilla group in the face of this needy population", said Anif.

The situation of insecurity is also evident in the survey "Cúcuta cómo vamos", which highlighted that one of the most serious problems in the city is the perception of greater insecurity.

In 2016, 31% of respondents answered that they felt unsafe in the city. In 2017, the figure rose to 44%, said the coordinator of "Cúcuta como vamos" and professor at the Free University, Mario Zambrano.

Impact on Public Health

In terms of public health, it is also observed that the massive migration of Venezuelans represents a cost for the Colombian treasury in terms of higher requirements for health services. The report highlights that the cost overrun in health care would be $ 72,000 million Colombian pesos per year.

In the report, the Anif noted that the Statutory Health Law (Law 1751 of 2015) established unlimited attention in cases of emergency (without the requirement of a prior payment) and comprehensive care (including medication provision) when the patient is not in ability to assume costs.

This means that the Public Health Institutions, IPS (in Spanish), are obliged to attend to Venezuelans who arrive requiring services, even if they cannot pay for them.

In terms of health, the agency ensures that this population of immigrants is undernourished, in poor conditions and "prone to epidemic diseases".

The National Institute of Health of Colombia, INS (in Spanish), confirmed that in Colombia there are four cases of measles from Venezuelan children.

Given the worrying situation, Anif calls on the Colombian government to focus its work on streamlining immigration procedures (encouraging formalization of employment), and strengthening recruitment through the National Service of Learning, Sena (in Spanish), an institution that trains the citizen to insert him into the labor market. They also ask that the hiring salary for this population group to be reduced in the next two years.

 

Latin American Post | Cenay Sánchez
Translated from “ Colombia: ¿El éxodo venezolano produce más inseguridad y desempleo?”

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