World Bank and UNHCR (2021) Integration of Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Brazil

Source of this description: World Bank´s Feature Story (May 19, 2021)  Displacement in Brazil: helping policy makers to improve economic and social inclusion for Venezuelans

This new study from the World Bank and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) examined Venezuelan refugees’ access to education, social protection and the labor market in Brazil. The results show a shocking reality: though as educated as their Brazilian counterparts, Venezuelan adults are 64% less likely to be working in a formal job and children are 53% less likely to be in school.

Brazil provides universal access to education, health care and social protection irrespective of legal status. However, many Venezuelan refugees and migrants still face barriers to enrol into the public education system, social protection programs and the formal labor markets. According to the report, only 10 percent of the Venezuelan working age population in Brazil manage to access the formal labor market.

Reality is even harder for women. “On average, female Venezuelans are 75% less likely compared to Brazilian females to be employed in a formal sector job, and male Venezuelans are 65% less likely as Brazilian males to be employed in a formal sector job.” compares Mrittika Shamsuddin.

“Integration in a foreign country is a long-term process that requires a holistic and multisectoral approach in order to be effective, especially when we are talking about refugees”, highlights UNHCR’s economist and co-author of the report Nikolas Pirani.  “That is why UNHCR bridges these people’s talents and capacities with demands from the private sector, ensuring there is a win-win situation for both refugees and host communities”, he adds.

Naturally, the pandemic has also caused its share of dramatic impact on the already challenging livelihoods scenario of refugees and migrants. The analysis of 2021 data infers that the ones out of labor market are able to get Bolsa Família assistance as a way of surviving while establishing their lives in Brazil. However, the study show that Venezuelans are 30% less likely to be registered in the program compared to their Brazilian counterparts. “Out of those receiving Bolsa Familia, 42% have high school education and 15% have college degrees, compared to 19% of Brazilians having high school education and 1% having college degrees”, reveals Rovane Schwengber.

The topic is also addressed in the discussion "Inclusive Social Protection for Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Myth or Reality?" hosted by in April 2021. 

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