As Venezuela is facing an intense political and economic situation, around 115,242 people left the country and sought refuge in Brazil (data as of October 2019 - UNHCR). Along Brazil’s northern border with Venezuela, the town of Pacaraima, in the state of Roraima, is the main point of entry with average daily arrivals of 598 individuals; most continue to the state capital Boa Vista.
Relocation is important for the sustainable integration of refugees into the social and economic life of the country, but also to alleviate the overcrowding in the reception shelters near the border. Socio-economic integration implies multi-stakeholder partnership involving local public actors (government and municipality), civil society and the private sector, to create employment opportunities for refugees and migrants with necessary social support.
On October 1st 2019, AVSI launched a new project in Brazil, “Promoting integration through employment of Venezuelan refugees and migrants and other vulnerable persons”. The project, funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), will reach 9,600 beneficiaries directly and 35,000 indirectly over two years.
Implemented by AVSI Brasil in partnership with the Migration and Human Rights Institute (IMDH), the project’s main goal is to guarantee the rights of Venezuelan refugees and migrants living in Brazil in support of the humanitarian emergency program, “Operação Acolhida” (“Operation Welcome”), led by the Brazilian Federal Government with UNHCR. AVSI aims to improve access to formal work for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as the most vulnerable sectors of the Brazilian population, and second, facilitate the voluntary relocation of refugees and migrants currently hosted in the cities of Boa Vista and Pacaraima.
AVSI is leading a multi-stakeholder effort for greater long-term sustainability and positive impact. Private companies will be engaged directly, matching business needs for a skilled and motivated workforce with employees, both among the Venezuelan migrants and host population. Civil society organizations will support social integration of migrants during relocation. The Government of Brazil will remain a leading actor, both at national and local levels, for coordination and streamlining of priorities and resources.