Venezuelans Have to Live Without Mercosur Visas to Colombia

EspañolThe Colombian central government has indefinitely suspended the issuance of special Mercosur visas to Venezuelan nationals. The stated justification is that Venezuela has not complied with the migration agreement following her entry into Mercosur as a full member in 2012.

Venezuelans have chosen Colombia as one of their favorite destinations to migrate from their country.
Venezuelans have chosen Colombia as one of their favorite destinations for immigration. (Tomy Pelluz)

“Colombia temporarily suspended Mercosur visas for Venezuelans given the lack of reciprocity… Venezuela is not enforcing the Mercosur agreement, which also would allow Colombians [to apply for Mercosur visas],” explained the Colombian Chancellery to Venezuelan newspaper El Universal.

Venezuela, as a full member of the regional trade bloc, and Colombia, as an associate member, are part of the “Free Residence Area with the right to work.” Citizens of these nations can access special visas that allow them to work and live in signatory nations. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay are also full members, along with associate members Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.

While the measure remains in force, Venezuelans will have to go through the regular process to obtain a visa to work or immigrate to Colombia.

In recent years, Colombia has became one of the most attractive destinations to Venezuelans looking to emigrate from a country with high levels of inflation and violent crime. Over 15,000 Venezuelans applied for visas in Bogotá in the last five years, and according to the World Bank, there are 34,000 Venezuelan nationals living in Colombia.

Roy Daza, a Venezuelan deputy for the Latin-American Parliament (Parlatino) says it “is indisputable that Venezuela has always maintained control of the issuance of visas,” and that they are examining how to harmonize the process. “This will be discussed by our foreign-relations ministries, and we will seek ways to harmonize the regulations that each country imposes regarding the movement of people.”

Source: El Universal.

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