Skip to main content
Regularization, key to access rights

Asylum and Migratory Regularization: Pathways to Access Rights

Member States have adopted programs for the regularization and recognition of refugee status at national level which ensure greater protection and integration.

By Giovanna Monteiro and Isadora Zoni

Brasília, May 19, 2022 — During the Brasilia Chapter, regularization has been prioritized in the regional work agenda for its involvement in obtaining the rights of refugees and migrants. Aware of this, the Pro Tempore Presidency of Brazil provided an interesting space for the exchange of good practices and reflection on the progress and challenges of the processes in the region.

The Webinar "Migration Regularization Programs and Recognition of Refugee Status: good practices and challenges for inclusion and integration processes" was attended by more than 100 people, ranging from representatives from member states, organizations, the Group of Friends and civil society. At the event, presentations were made by R4V and on the experiences of Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay. In addition, participants were invited to exchange experiences in two working groups: Integration and Prevention.

Although concern about irregular or undocumented status were present in the Quito Process from the beginning, discussions on the legal situation of the  Venezuelan population in the host countries were revitalized with the adoption of several programs of regularization and recognition of refugee status at the national level. The Regional Strategy for Socio-Economic Integration, adopted within the framework of the Process, also recognizes the importance of regularization as a fundamental step in integration processes. 

In their regional comparative analysis of regularization programs and administrative facilities for refugees and migrants from Venezuela, Lorena Nieto and Juan Carlos Pacheco, from R4V, identified six types of regularization in Latin America and the Caribbean. Best practices include the flexibility of documents, the guarantee of access to basic rights and the restriction of sanctions during the regularization process. The information and presentation are available on the website:

Colombia presented the scope of the Temporary Protection Statute, with the participation of Paula González, Deputy Director of Migration in Colombia. With a total of 1,842,390 Venezuelans in the country, the positive reaches have allowed only 315,643 to be in an irregular situation as of August 2021. With the Statute, the good practices of the Single Registry of Venezuelan Migrants and the issuance of the Temporary Protection Permit were generated. In this way, access to public and private institutional provision, formal employment and public policies became possible. This ensures the protection of the human rights of refugees and migrants.

The Plan for the Normalization of the Migratory Status of Venezuelans in the Dominican Republic was also presented, which represents a regular permanence mechanism. As explained by Sharina Sánchez, Supervisor of the Visa Center for Venezuelans. On the Caribbean island, the Venezuelan refugee and migrant population have the possibility to apply for an extension of stay in the country and apply for a temporary work or study visa. A total of 18,334 Venezuelans has already obtained visas in Dominican territory through this Plan.

Finally, Lourdes Boné Dadalt, Director of International Migration of Uruguay presented regularization as a pillar of Uruguay's migration policy.  Under the clarity that migration is a right, some good practices identified in the country are free regularization, the scarcity of requirements and flexibility for Venezuelans, direct access to permanent residence, support in civil society, family reunification and the non-criminalization of the change of migratory category. 

The webinar was divided into two moments. The first featured presentations by experts and, secondly the division of the participants into two smaller groups: Integration and Protection.  

The Integration group (link) discussed challenges and good practices in the articulation of regularization processes with integration processes. A major challenge that has been shared in the region is the interoperability of documentation with public and private services. A good practice is the registration that migrants from Venezuela receive in Brazil for immediate access to services and the labor market, even during the pandemic. In Ecuador, a good practice is the digital format of the regularization process. And in the Dominican Republic, the good practice of close collaboration between the national government, civil society and international organizations was shared.

The Protection group (link) discussed the challenges and best practices of regularization programs and administrative facilities for accessing immigration and international protection statutes. In the area of challenges, access and duration of statutes, the flexibility of expired documents, the specific vulnerabilities of groups such as unaccompanied or undocumented children and adolescents and the lack of access to information and ignorance of the receiving population about documentation and access to rights. The good practices proposed were the possibility of choosing individually between accessing temporary residence or applying for refugee status, in the case of Brazil, as well as its prima facie recognition of refugee status. They also mention the facilitation of the application and obtaining of the document in digital form, the recognition and validation of degrees and certificates, among others.