Põhisisu juurde
European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Love in the time of the Venezuelan migration crisis

The chemistry between Jeimmy and Tomás fills the air of their small house in Colombia. They are not locals, they are from Venezuela, but like the other 6 million fellow Venezuelans, they had no other option but to flee.

Colombia hosts more than 1.8 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees and has taken the historical decision of granting them 10-year protection through the Temporary Protection Status.

The registration process has shown significant progress and provides crucial protection. However, access to essential services remains challenging as many are unaware of their rights as refugees or migrants.

With EU humanitarian funding, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) supports migrants throughout the process and provides legal information on their rights.

Thanks to this assistance, Jeimmy, Tomás and 6,500 Venezuelan migrants and refugees received legal guidance to get the documents they needed to legally settle in Colombia.

Jeimmy and Tomás holding each other while sitting on a bed
Jeimmy and Tomás were happy in Venezuela but had no other option but to leave when the country’s crisis deteriorated. They entered Colombia through an informal crossing after spending days on a bus ride, crossing Bogotá to reach their final destination.
© NRC, 2022 (photographer: Vannesa Jimenez). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
View of an overhead market filled with camping tents
Venezuela continues to face a deep economic, social and political crisis. People lack public services and access to food. Like Jeimmy and Tomás, more than 6 million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015. Colombia hosts 1.8 million of them.
© European Union, 2021 (photographer: Nadége Mazars)
View from the street through the front door while Jeimmy is moving a bike
"It was a radical change for us. In Venezuela, I worked as a secretary, and he was a driver,” says Jeimmy. To make ends meet, she now works as a caretaker and cleaner, while Tomás works in the construction sector on weekdays and a restaurant on Sundays.
© NRC, 2022 (photographer: Vannesa Jimenez). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Jeimmy counting on her fingers
Since their arrival in Colombia, they spent 1,460 days as undocumented migrants living with the anxiety of getting caught and without any chance to access regular and formal jobs. With EU funds, NRC provides legal support to displaced Venezuelans.
© NRC, 2022 (photographer: Vannesa Jimenez). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
NRC staff talking to locals seeking information
When Jeimmy and Tomás found out about this legal support, they travelled to the venue and explained their situation. NRC staff provided information, enrolled them in the process and followed up on their application until they were registered.
© NRC, 2022 (photographer: Vannesa Jimenez). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Tomás showing his identity documents, one in each hand
“I now feel that I have an identity, that we are now part of this country and that I can speak," says Tomás. "I hope this document will open new opportunities for me”.
© NRC, 2022 (photographer: Vannesa Jimenez). All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.

Story by Daniele Pagani, Regional Information Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.
Publication date: 05/10/2022