A free telephone information service for Venezuelan migrants currently living in Costa Rica, 800-Venezuela, was launched this week by the International Organization For Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, with the support of the Costa Rica’s immigration service, the General Directorate of Migration (DGME) and the National Migration Council.

According to data from the DGME, 8,892 Venezuelans live in Costa Rica under a regular migration status. However, this figure does not include migrants who are in the country irregularly – which IOM estimates to be much higher.

To support decision making with accurate information and data analysis, IOM is adapting its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to determine the points of entry, exit and residence of Venezuelan migrants, and identify their vulnerabilities and required services.

“The 800-Venezuela toll-free service provides direct assistance to highly vulnerable Venezuelan migrants,” explained Francisco Furlani, project coordinator at IOM Costa Rica. “In collaboration with national government agencies, Venezuelan migrants are being linked with public institutions to facilitate their access to healthcare and other basic services. They also receive orientation on how to acquire microcredits and thus give them better opportunities for integration and development within the Costa Rican society.”

The toll-free number is one of the first actions in Costa Rica of the IOM Regional Action Plan to Strengthen Response to Venezuelan Outflows, which requires USD 32.3 million in funding to implement, and focuses on activities such as data collection and dissemination, capacity building and coordination, direct support and socio-economic integration.

IOM in Costa Rica

Costa Rica joined IOM as a Member State in December 1952, just a year after the founding of the organization. In 1954, IOM established its presence in the country. Since then, IOM Costa Rica has worked closely with the government of Costa Rica as well as with Costa Rican organizations and institutions to address the challenges posed by immigration in the country and more recently by the emigration of Costa Ricans.

For more information, visit the website of the IOM Regional Office for Central and North America and the Caribbean.