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Time to join efforts in the Regional Mechanism for Socio-Economic Integration

Time to join efforts in the Regional Mechanism for Socio-Economic Integration

Colombia presented advances such as the Public Employability Service Program, the public employment-based mobility policy for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, and its efforts to recognize and certify skills. 

By Ana Gama Vieira

Brasilia, April 8, 2022 — In the Thematic Workshop, Colombia presented its initiatives for socio-economic integration and proposed an expansion of efforts at a regional level.

Dora Lucía Gonzalez, Colombia’s Focal Point, acknolwedged the support to strengthen the regional strategy to combat xenophobia within the framework of the Quito Process as an integral and sine qua non part of socio-economic integration. Gonzalez congratulated the Brazilian Pro Tempore Presidency of the Quito Process and the Technical Secretariat for proactively engaging the Group of Friends to thematic workshops, representing a qualitative leap in the Brasilia Chapter by transforming migratory dynamics into an opportunity for regional growth and development.

Joaquim Tres, representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), stressed the importance of harmonizing regional public policies, cooperation between countries and the IDB's contribution to projects in the region

Christina Polzot, representative of Global Affairs Canada, reinforced the commitment to countries that receive Venezuelan refugees and migrants and announced the financing of new socio-economic integration projects in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Guyana, which will be implemented by the ILO, UNHCR, UNICEF, Inter-American Bank, World Bank and Cuso Internacional.
In 2021, Colombia introduced the Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelans (ETPV), which aims to provide temporary protection to the Venezuelan refugee and migrant population, guaranteeing access to health, education, work, among other social protection services. Johanna Saenz, UNDP's technical focal point, stressed that the EPTV has several mechanisms with a strong impact on socioeconomic insertion and that migratory regularization cannot be the end of the process, rather it’s just the beginning.

This thematic is led by Colombia, the leading country in the Socio-Economic Insertion axis, supported by the International Labor Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),

Public Employment Service
Diego Santos Rubiano, from the Ministry of Labor of Colombia, presented the advances in the Public Employment Service program. The program offers guidance on professional profile and how to direct you to available positions; information on the labor market; training according to your needs; and referral to vacancies according to the profile. Currently, there are 223,532 Venezuelan citizens registered in the Employment Service Information System (SISE).

In 2021, Colombia and Ecuador signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of a binational vacancy bank. The proposal aims at the integration of employability services provided by the States and, for its implementation, legal and technological consultancy is required, which is now being contracted with the support of the ILO.

Job-Based Mobility for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants
Diana Ramon, from the Ministry of Labor of Colombia, presented the public policy aimed at the local integration of the Venezuelan population through their relocation in the country based on employment. The program was built by the Ministry of Labor, with the Colombian Border Management, UNHCR and Cuso Internacional, to decongest the border areas with Venezuela for other business centers in the country with greater opportunities for labor and reception and, thus, ensure greater insertion in the labor market.

The 2021 pilot project relocated 26 workers and their families, had a specific focus on gender and youth, in addition to ensuring that more than 25% of the jobs open to mobilization were green jobs, also contributing to the strategy to combat climate change. The program's goal for 2022 is to integrate more than 200 workers, and their families, into the strategy.

Skills Certificate
The National Learning Service (SENA) launched the Saber Hacer Vale (SHV) program, which certifies prior learning as a means of qualification through a process of assessment and certification of skills to support citizens and migrants in entering the labor market.

In confluence with this work, Francesco Carella, technical focal point of the ILO, highlighted that the Latin American Regional Qualifications Framework is in the process for regional approval, and requires support and cooperation between countries to be approved and for the de facto implementation of agreements. intergovernmental. The Framework was prepared by the ILO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Organization of American States (OAS).

Call to Action: Regional Strategy
Carlos Alberto Parra, from the Colombian Border Management, calls for action by the other member countries in the thematic workshop to advance the mechanisms of socio-economic integration between the countries, in order to achieve tangible results and a positive impact on the Venezuelan migrant population. The creation of a regional job vacancy register raises a debate about interoperability between countries, while a labor mobility strategy could manage to transcend countries. In this sense, the qualification framework in progress for approval could be used as a tool to homogenize diploma validation processes in the region, facilitating the process. The workshop concluded with a proposal to bring Colombia and Argentina closer to bilaterally discussing a labor mobility strategy.


Tools and Resources:

+ Presentación PdQ - Avances Eje Sector Integracion.
+ Agenda reunión de inserción 2022.
+ Nota Conceptual Taller ISE Brasilia 2022.
+ Taller ISE Abril 2022.