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Economic Integration of Venezuelan Immigrants in Colombia: A Policy Roadmap


  • Dany Bahar

    (Brown University
    Harvard Growth Lab
    Center for Global Development)

  • José Morales-Arilla

    (Princeton University
    Harvard Growth Lab)

  • Sara Restrepo

    (Development Innovation Lab at the University of Chicago)


This paper studies the formal labor market integration and firm creation of Venezuelan immigrants and refugees in Colombia between late 2019 to late 2021. It applies a novel framework to identify segments of the Colombian economy where Venezuelan immigrants and refugees are lagging behind. When it comes to labor market dynamics, we identify professional services as one of the sectors where Venezuelan workers are not integrating fast enough consistently across different parts of the country, hinting that the recognition of professional credentials might be an important bottleneck to effective integration. As for entrepreneurship, we find that sectors where there are fewer firm creations by foreigners as compared to locals include commerce and service industries all across the nation. This paper is accompanied by a set of downloadable files which list sectors of the economy in each geographic department with poor integration of Venezuelan immigrants both for labor markets and firm creation. These lists are meant to be used by national and local policymakers for further investigation of possible market failures or distortions hindering immigrant integration, given our results.

Suggested Citation

  • Dany Bahar & José Morales-Arilla & Sara Restrepo, 2022. "Economic Integration of Venezuelan Immigrants in Colombia: A Policy Roadmap," Policy Papers 280, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:ppaper:280

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