R4R Situation Report: Central America and Mexico (August 2021) – Costa Rica



The directors of the Migration Authority of Costa Rica and Panama met on August 16 with the Colombian authorities and R4V partners, to discuss the migratory flows arriving by land through these countries, mainly Venezuelans, Cubans and foreigners. ‘Haitians. The discussion focused on the need to coordinate an approach with UN agencies. The authorities stressed their lack of resources to manage these flows and affirmed their position of not allowing the passage of refugees and migrants traveling by land through the national territory, due to the logistical complications that this entails and the situation. current pandemic. Through its baseline for tracking irregular migration flows in Costa Rica, the Migration Directorate estimates that 1,272 Venezuelans entered Costa Rica in transit between May and June. Due to the increased influx of Haitians, Cubans and Venezuelans, migration police said they were carrying out “rejections” at the southern border, referring to the practice of detaining and deporting Venezuelans and other foreigners entering irregularly, largely without facilitating access. asylum procedures.

Meanwhile, R4V partners in Costa Rica implemented a High Frequency Survey (HFS) in a self-administered form accessible online, disseminated through social media and groups of Venezuelans. The HFS assesses the needs in order to [add in purpose of survey]. Venezuelans could complete the HFS through an online link, available from July 28 to August 23, accessible to anyone regardless of their immigration status. A total sample of 298 people responded to the survey. After data cleaning, a total sample of 241 was recorded.

The Refugees Unit of the Migration Directorate has launched a campaign to speed up the processes related to asylum applications, the renewal of documents for asylum seekers and the issuance of work permits. Efforts have been made to maximize the number of appointments, expedite waiting times and ensure that the needs of asylum seekers are met during their refugee status determination (RSD) processes.


In August, the Migration Service registered 466 Venezuelan nationals in transit through Panama, who entered through the Darien Gap with Colombia. This is an 89% increase from July (when 246 Venezuelans entered through this route). Regarding this change in population movements, before this year the transit of Venezuelans through Panama was not very common and totaled around 20 people in 2020. These registered cases were usually people whose interest was to stay in Panama. and who did not have the resources to travel to this country by other means. Beginning in 2021 and coinciding with some changes in migration policies in the United States, an increase in the flow of Venezuelan refugees and migrants with the intention of continuing their transit northward, particularly to the United States, began to be registered. Since this population is not part of the controlled flow agreement between Panama and Costa Rica, initially the Venezuelan population that entered through the Darien was detained in the migrant reception stations; however, from June this year they were allowed to continue their transit. Interviews with R4V partners have identified that a large part of this population does not come directly from Venezuela, but rather from secondary movements, having previously resided in Ecuador, Colombia and more recently there has been an increase in the number of people previously residing in Peru). Most are young people, traveling alone or with a partner (who in some cases is a national of the country in which they previously resided).

Based on an independent assessment by [add name of authors and/or hyperlink to document] shared with the government, unemployment in Panama will remain above 20% this year and in the first months of 2022. According to the assessment, to reduce unemployment, major construction projects should be prioritized to activate direct and indirect jobs. According to national media, economists and lawyers, informal work continues to gain ground exponentially in the country. The collapse of formal employment has pushed informality to 53%. This trend also seems to have affected refugees and migrants, according to R4V partners.


R4V partners have identified an increase in migratory flows of Venezuelans to Mexico, with July and August registering the highest number of asylum applications filed with the National Commission for Asylum and Refugees (COMAR) by Venezuelans until ‘now this year, at 621 and 612, respectively. This is the highest number of asylum applications from Venezuelans recorded so far in 2020 and 2021.

The national platform worked on planning a Joint Needs Assessment (JNA) to better understand the protection and integration needs of the Venezuelan population in Mexico. These exercises will be carried out in September and October in Querétaro, Monterrey, Puebla, Cancun and Playa del Carmen, with a report to be written with the main conclusions of the JNA.

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