From Economic Violence to Economic Safety: The Financial Lives of Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Colombia

By: Tamara Bah, Marisol Hernandez, Heather Odell, Shane Sullivan, Rosemary Ventura, and Kim Wilson

The International Rescue Committee reports that nearly 4 million Venezuelans have crossed into Colombia in search of refuge since 2014.1 Venezuelan migrants face multifaceted vulnerabilities, including poor access to economic inclusion, formal documentation, and discrimination from Colombians. Migrants are falling off a financial cliff regarding financial health, formal legal documentation, cash assistance, and access to information. However, some NGOs on the ground are attempting to create programs centered around this financial issue, seeking solutions to help Venezuelans in this period of transition. Following several Venezuelan’s financial journeys as examples, we find that socio-economic status pre-migration and access to information, not time in country, are crucial indicators of financial health. Additionally, Venezuelan migrants prioritize building social capital with Colombians. Financial trajectories continue to vary by context in country.

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