Venezuelan Migrants Outpace Host Community Individuals by Two Years in
Venezuelan Migrants Outpace Host Community Individuals by Two Years in Education, Study Reveals. Pablo Vera/AFP

A new study revealed this week that Venezuelans living in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Colombia have, in average, two more years of education than locals.

The research, conducted by the Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement, an initiative by the World Bank and UNHCR, shows that the most significant disparity in education is in Ecuador, where local individuals have an average of 9.7 years of education, contrasting with Venezuelan migrants in the country, who boast 14.1 years.

The contrast is less pronounced in other countries Venezuelans have migrated to. In Colombia, host individuals average 10.1 years of education, while Venezuelans living there average 12.2 years. Similarly, in Chile, hosts average 12.3 years of education compared to Venezuelan migrants who average 14.4 years.

Peru has the narrowest gap, with locals averaging 11.3 years of study, while Venezuelan migrants' figure is 12.9 years.

The report "Venezuelan migration in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, a development opportunity" examines the socioeconomic situation of migrants from that country in the four main hosting nations while comparing their profile to that people in the host communities.

Over 7.7 million Venezuelans have emigrated over the past years. According to available information cited by the report, about 80% left for Latin American countries, mainly Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Brazil, both for geographical and economic reasons.

Using data collected from each country, the report offers a socioeconomic profile of the Venezuelans and local communities and recommends strategies to assist in their socio-economic integration and development.

According to a previous study by the International Monetary Fund, Venezuelans are likely to contribute to lifting Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru by an average of 0.15–0.30 percentage points annually between 2017 and 2030.

The Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement underscored that Venezuelan migrants have not only a higher average of years of education, but they are generally younger than the national population and in the prime working age range of 25 to 45.

However, the report highlights also that "Venezuelans are often employed in positions below their qualifications and experience, a phenomenon known as downgrading, which limits the economic gains of migration."

"Their economic inclusion is critical to unlock their contribution to the GDP growth of host countries and policy should facilitate their labor market access," the release said. "Recognizing credentials and professional experience can help improve labor misallocation, enhancing the benefits of their participation in the economy," it added.

Most Venezuelan migrants wants to stay in the country they migrated to, the study showed. Available data cited by the researchers detailed that in Chile, Colombia, and Peru, close to three-quarters of Venezuelans have expressed that desire.

Yet, "either as a cause or a consequence of the lack of social integration, some 26–40 percent of Venezuelans in Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru state that they have experienced discrimination," the report also stated.

"Targeted integration programs to foster the formation of social capital between migrants and hosts can help to improve social cohesion, crucial for cooperation and preventing discriminatory behaviors. Incentivizing prosocial behaviors toward Venezuelans can help migrants develop a feeling of belonging and, therefore, maximize their potential for the development of the host communities," the Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement concluded.

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