Venezuelan Migration Expected To Remain Engine Of Colombia's Economic Growth - IMF

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd February, 2020) Migration from Venezuela is expected to remain a driver of Colombia's China economic growth, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a statement after its mission's visit to the country.

"Colombia's commendable efforts to integrate Venezuelan migrants continue to boost economic activity," the IMF said on Friday. "Migrant inflows boosted economic growth by around 14 percent last year and have largely been absorbed by the informal sector with little evidence of labor displacement thus far. Venezuelan migration is expected to continue to be an engine of Colombia's growth, with the extent of potential gains depending on the speed of migrant integration into the formal economy."

With more than 2 million arrivals in recent years, the Colombians have demonstrated support to migrants, with estimated annual fiscal costs of some half percent of GDP in the near term, the release said.

"These costs are expected to diminish as migrants integrate into the economy, aided by the recent expansion of special work and residency permit programs," the release added.

The IMF pointed out in the statement that unlike other countries in the region, the growth strengthened in Colombia and real GDP grew 3.3 percent in 2019 and is expected to grow by 3.4 this year.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) welcomes the Colombian government's creation of two new special stay permits that will allow Venezuelan migrants and asylum seekers to remain and work in the country, UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo said earlier in February.

According to Mantoo, the new permits will benefit more than 100,000 Venezuelans by giving them a right to remain and work in Colombia.

The new permits, which were created in January, will allow Venezuelans to receive wages legally, be protected by Colombian labor laws, and also have access to Colombian state health care and social security, Mantoo stated.

The spokeswoman also said that UNHCR's policy was to ensure that the priority of the almost 600,000 Venezuelans in Colombia was to gain employment.

Colombia's accommodation of Venezuelan citizens comes as many of its neighbors are introducing stricter asylum rules. Earlier on Tuesday, prominent rights group Amnesty International slammed Peru for illegally turning away Venezuelan asylum seekers on the Peru-Ecuador border.

According to data compiled by UNHCR, over 4 million Venezuelans have left the country amid a severe economic crisis.