Venezuelan Crisis: Regional data collection and analysis on Venezuelan Refugee-like population

Background and Context

A staggering 12% to 18% of Venezuelans have left their country forced by the onset of the political crisis. And, pessimistic economic forecasts suggest an increase in the Venezuelan refugee-like population. The economic, social, political, and institutional crisis as well as food scarcity and insecurity has mobilized between 3.4 and 5.5 million Venezuelans to leave their country[1].

The early engagement of the World Bank in receiving countries has produced relevant products and policy advice. Notwithstanding, and in light of the COVID-19 crisis, it is evident that egregious gaps remain both in terms of critical statistics and policy guidance around the Venezuelan refugee-like population. Nationally representative high frequency surveys across the region have revealed the highly negative impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on access to employment and labor income, access to health and education services, food insecurity concerns, coping mechanisms, and others. These efforts have focused on the national (host) population, except for the data collection in Ecuador, and thus do not provide policy-relevant data and information to assess the impacts and needs of the Venezuelan refugee-like population.

This activity aims to contribute precise information to the design, monitoring, and evaluation of policies, through the analysis of existing quantitative data and collection of new quality quantitative data on the Venezuelan refugee-like population in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, as the countries hosting the largest Venezuelan diaspora. Given the COVID-19 crisis and its significant negative impact across the region, the activity includes this lens as the central focus to the data collection exercise, the analysis and the engagement. The activity is expected to inform policies that: (i) Aim at monitoring the crisis’ impacts across various dimensions, including on the economic impact and access to basic services such as health and education; (ii) Adapt existing social protection systems to handle pre and post crisis needs of this population; (iii) Promote and encourage regularization of migrants so access to services and rights are guaranteed and; (iv) Integrate Venezuelan migrants into the labor market in an efficient manner through reactivation efforts, and in a way that benefits the host country and contributes to medium-term growth.

Activity description

  1. Collecting primary socio-economic data on the Venezuelan refugee-like population

Ecuador: High-Frequency Phone Survey Data collection. Building on recent efforts implemented by the World Bank in Ecuador that already included the refugee-like population (the Survey of Migrants and Receiving Communities in Ecuador (EPEC)[2], and the HFPS), the team plans to extend those to additional rounds to continue monitoring impacts.

Colombia: Capitalizing on the national household survey (GEIH[3]), the team plans to build on the in-person monthly interviews administered from 2019 onwards (already part of the operations of the National Statistics Office (DANE)) and, jointly with the statistics office, conduct additional phone interviews with the population in 3-6 rounds.

Peru: Filling a data gap through in-person interviews. The team aims to carry out a second wave of the Venezuelan Population Residing in Peru Survey (ENPOVE[4]). This work will be done jointly with INEI (Peru’s National Statistical Office) and capitalize from a large in-person employment survey. The team will focus on designing a booster sample of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in that survey.

Chile: Maximizing the value and impact of collected quantitative data. The first part of the work will rely on administrative data sources from multiple sectors including education and social protection. The second part will provide in-depth analysis of the socioeconomic integration of migrants and compare their situation to Chilean nationals, highlighting policy options to tackle the key challenges they face. This will rely on Chile’s main household survey (CASEN[5]), implemented by the Ministry of Social Development.

  1. Perceptions towards refugee-like population – phone surveys

Building on the past cross-country effort in Latin America and the Caribbean through the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) and the experience of the High Frequency Phone Surveys (HFS) in the region, the team will collect and analyze data to better understand perceptions and opinions regarding the Venezuelan migrant/refugee crisis in Latin America. The team will rely on a private firm to help define/refine the survey instruments and administer them in one round per country to the four countries of interest. The availability of socio-economic data across countries will allow comparisons on key aspects, including individual and household characteristics and labor market engagement and income, as well as non-labor income. Based on the microdata collected for each country, the team will prepare a regional (cross-country) note. Second, the perception data collected will also allow for cross-country assessments of differences in areas that are critical for policymaking and for political buy-in. This regional view is relevant to inform the regional coordination efforts across countries under various parallel tasks, but also for development and humanitarian partners such as the World Bank and UNHCR.

Overall objectives

The work has three objectives: (i) Produce original evidence to fill knowledge gaps on the most updated and precise data on living conditions, service provision and income opportunities of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, with a focus on monitoring impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the recovery process; (ii) Provide evidence to inform potential policy interventions based on information produced, that effectively improve the living conditions of Venezuelan migrants, and address barriers to social and economic integration, and recovery post-crisis and; (iii) Provide evidence to inform technical assistance efforts to governments in parallel tasks to support effective integration measures of host and migrant/refugee communities in the medium and long term.

Engagement with partners

UNHCR has been a key partner for the Venezuelan migrant and refugee surveys in Peru and Ecuador, and they have provided comments/insights to the reports produced in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. UNHCR country offices will be consulted on the survey instruments and reports for the activities in all four countries: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Moreover, work will be undertaken in close coordination with Government counterparts and NSOs.

Contact

For further details on this activity, please contact:

 

[1] UN (2019), Bacigalupo and Goldstein (2019), UNCHR (2019)

[2] Encuesta a Personas en Movilidad Humana y en Comunidades Receptoras en Ecuador (EPEC)

[3] Gran encuesta integrada de hogares (GEIH)

[4] “Encuesta Dirigida a la Población Venezolana que Reside en el País (ENPOVE)

[5] Encuesta de Caracterización Socioeconómica Nacional (CASEN)

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