Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela 2021

Regional Plan
Last updated: January 29 2021
Funding required
People in need
People Targeted

IOM Vision

In response to the increasing flows of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in the evolving COVID-19 context, IOM strives to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity through supporting safe and dignified migration, access to basic humanitarian needs, protection and durable solutions; as well as complementing and strengthening the national responses and the regional efforts of governments. IOM will sustainably and comprehensively address humanitarian and protection needs in transit and destination countries as well as seek longer-term solutions for all those affected. Through inter-agency analysis and coordination, as well as its presence along the Venezuelan migration routes and long-lasting cooperation with host countries and communities in the region,  IOM will ensure it’s response addresses the evolving migration and COVI9-19 pandemic context.

Objective 1 - Saving lives and protecting people on the move
Saving lives and protecting people on the move

Funding required
At risk communities
People Targeted
International migrant, Local population / community, Refugee
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

Migrants, refugees, government counterparts, communities,  vulnerable groups, such as children, pregnant women, female-single-headed household, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous communities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities.

Basic needs, including food and multi-purpose cash assistance

In order to address the basic needs of the beneficiary population, IOM will:

  • Provide access to food for refugees and migrants in need in both border and urban areas. This includes food kits, hot meals and children lunchboxes for school. Assistance will be provided through in-kind distribution and cash-based interventions such as food vouchers and prepaid cards.
  • Improve or construct food preparation spaces.
  • Provide agricultural supplies and grants to improve agricultural production for rural and indigenous populations to ultimately support essential needs.
  • Cash-based interventions to ensure that rent, energy bills, household items, public transportation and other basic needs are accessible. All interventions will integrate GBV risk mitigation.
Funding required
Plan types

Emergency consular assistance

IOM will provide appropriate, timely and efficient emergency consular services in order to:

  • Support the regularization of migration status' and access to legal services through the provision of information, awareness-raising, legal consultations, cash-based interventions for visa application/processing fees and registration support services to Venezuelans.
  • Support governments and public officials through the provisions of training on protection mechanisms, technical support with legal services, support in the digitization of migration regularization processes to be able to carry out the procedures digitally due to restrictions on movement and support with communication campaigns educating the population on regularization options.
  • Support the Federal Police with the application and renewal of temporary residence permits.
  • Improve the capacity of consulates to serve the Venezuelan population in transit.
Funding required
Plan types

Direct health support

IOM aims to improve access to life-saving primary health care services for refugees and migrants from Venezuela and communities including tuberculosis, COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases, mental health and psychosocial support, and sexual and reproductive health through:

  • Enhancing access to medicines, medical exams, lab testing and dental care for refugees and migrants from Venezuela in transit and destination countries, including through the deployment of mobile clinics, employment of medical staff and the provision of medicines, medical supplies and equipment.
  • Improving mental healthcare capacities at the primary health care level through the strengthening of local technical capacities and the establishment of referral systems.
  • Strengthening health security in the areas where migration regularization procedures are carried out.
  • Improve the access of refugees and migrants from Venezuela to medical specialists and specialists' services for those with chronic illnesses and diseases.
  • Ensure access to safe, quality and compassionate health services for survivors of GBV, including safe referrals to additional care such as social and legal services and safe shelter.
  • Design and launch community health strategies.
  • Implementation of a COVID-19 vaccination campaign among the refugees and migrants from Venezuela, including COVID-19 risk communication activities. 
  • Support with the vaccination procedures for the migratory regularization process.
  • Distribution of emergency hygiene kits to migrants in transit.
Funding required
Plan types

Mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian response

With the aim of promoting, protecting and supporting the well-being of the beneficiary population, IOM will:

  • Improve access to mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for refugees and migrants, including children, adolescents, adults and the elderly from Venezuela and host communities, through the provision of psychological and psychiatric consultations, support groups, psychological first aid and the deployment of teams to remote areas.
  • All MHPSS activities will be in line with IOM's Manual on Community-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies and Displacement.


Funding required
Plan types

Movement assistance

IOM plans to strengthen humanitarian transportation assistance in order to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified movements of refugees and migrants from Venezuela’ through the following interventions:

  • Supporting relocation programmes including the logistics of air and ground transportation, identification and building of new opportunities for relocation; documentation, registries; medical fit to travel procedures, including health screening for COVID-19; pre-departure orientation; transit assistance and escort duty; transit hubs support; pocket money; conducting monitoring of the relocation process; supporting and strengthening the data collection on relocated refugees and migrants from Venezuela.
  • Facilitating the long-distance in-country movement of refugees and migrants from vulnerable border areas to urban or interprovincial centres.
  • Supporting relocation through transport tickets to facilitate integration when refugees and migrants cannot afford the costs of living in certain cities or due to an insecurity context.
  • Supporting key actors in the development of guidelines and tools to provide humanitarian transport in countries of transit and permanence.
  • Provision of local transportation, including buses, vans, cars, and cash for transport to allow refugees and migrants to access basic services. In addition, IOM will also provide bicycles to ensure that refugees and migrants have access to protection services, basic goods, migration regularization institutions and livelihood opportunities including those in spontaneous settlements, rented houses and indigenous communities.
  • Cross border transportation to facilitate migratory, academic or labour regularization in countries without Venezuelan diplomatic services.
Funding required
Plan types


IOM's interventions will prioritise vulnerable groups, such as children, pregnant women, female-single-headed household, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous communities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities who are increasingly vulnerable to human rights and protection risks, including GBV, trafficking in persons and other forms of exploitation, abuse and/or violence. The safety, dignity and well-being of all crisis-affected persons, especially women and girls, and their equitable access to services will be prioritised, integrated and coordinated across all sectors of the response. To that end, IOM will:   

  • Strengthen and expand child protection mechanisms through capacity building of stakeholders, awareness on rights and self-protection among children, provision of specialized child protection services and preparation of standard operating procedures (SoPs) to strengthen the restitution process.
  • Strengthen prevention, protection and prosecution mechanisms for human trafficking and GBV through improved institutional response, including establishing minimum standards according to IOM's Institutional Framework for Addressing GBV in Crises, and the best practices and lessons learned by GBV partners,  and implementation of awareness-raising campaigns.
  • Implement capacity building among governments, service providers and community leadership, sensitization and awareness-raising activities to facilitate the prevention, response, and protection of GBV/TiP survivors and the prosecution of perpetrators.
  • Provision of comprehensive and integrative assistance to survivors and those at risk of GBV /TiP, tailored to the COVID-19 context.
  • Strengthen the assistance fund to support victims of trafficking, GBV survivors, victims of sexual exploitation and abuse and other persons who might be particularly exposed to the risk of GBV/TiP; including the provision of different types of emergency assistance, including mental health and psychosocial support, sexual and reproductive health, income-generating support, provision of legal support and referral to special services, among others.
  • Establishment of alliances with private companies, strengthening and linking on TiP issues, in order to mitigate vulnerabilities and risks to human trafficking in their production chains.
  • Creation and strengthening of community-based GBV/TiP protection and risk mitigation networks and mechanisms, including with LGTBIQ + civil society organizations.
  • As co-lead of the GVB sub-sector, IOM will launch a roster of expert GBV trainers in the region, including training and deployment management, to support GBV subsectors in their capacity-building activities.
  • Support, and when possible facilitate, family reunification in order to preserve the family unit and in line with the Best Interest of children and work to reduce the negative impacts that prolonged separation has on the ability of migrants to integrate within their host communities.
  • Establishing interagency, bilingual, Training of Trainers on Community Based Complaints Mechanisms and Accountability to Affected Populations for focal points in national platforms/member organizations and field personnel including UN and civil society partners.
  • Continue efforts to mitigate Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and improve capacities to respond through awareness-raising of partners and affected populations, discussions and trainings on accountability mechanisms, and workshops on survivor assistance and complaint referral best practices.
  • Reintegration program for child victims of trafficking.
  • Provide training, and technical assistance and regional support on migration management to host government entities through the use of IOM’s Migration Information and Data Analysis System and increasing capacity to process regularization applications through the modernization of administrative systems.
  • In order to better understand COVID-19 impacts on trafficking in persons' dynamics, and the different actors' capacities, needs and operational capabilities, IOM will conduct a Bi-annual regional diagnostic study on COVID-19 and human trafficking and smuggling.
Funding required
Plan types

Provision of water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies

In order to provide immediate access to safe water and sanitation, and to promote good hygiene practices, IOM will: 

  • Distribute hygiene and sanitation kits and cash and/or vouchers for hygiene and sanitation items,  including personal hygiene products, diapers and menstrual hygiene management (MHM) products; kit contents are aligned with national standards.
  • Conduct hygiene promotion and education activities through the provision of awareness-raising activities, hygiene supplies such as handwashing, hygiene and biosecurity kits and infrastructure including toilets and water tanks, in spontaneous settlements, centres for migrant assistance, schools; in alignment with national COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
  • Improve access to water, with a special focus on indigenous communities, through the distribution of tools, maintenance of WASH structures, construction of wells, and installation of filters.
  • Produce and distribute brochures and other information materials on how to access medical and protection services along with the kits.
Funding required
Plan types

Shelter and settlements

IOM's shelter support will include:

  • Improving the quality of existing temporary accommodations centres, through the rehabilitation of infrastructure and provision of household items such as furniture and appliances.
  • Identifying public facilities, making necessary refurbishing improvements and providing basic furnishings in order to be able to use them as temporary and transitional collective centres for refugees and migrants from Venezuela.  
  • Facilitating access to temporary accommodation centres for vulnerable families and provide temporary accommodation to refugees and migrants from Venezuela as well as host community members.
  • Provision of rent assistance through cash-based interventions (CBI). IOM will adapt the cash-based modality in accordance with contextual opportunities and limitations, ensuring that assistance is delivered in the most effective manner and taking into account beneficiary preferences.
  • Distributing non-food items (NFIs) through in-kind or cash assistance, according to the target populations' needs.
  • Providing rental support to guarantee emergency assistance to the most vulnerable refugees and migrants.
  • Strengthening technical capacities of local partners and public officials to effectively manage temporary accommodation centres, including on cross-cutting themes such a GBV, PSEA and MHPSS.
  • Promoting new gender and ethnicity-sensitive shelters in entry, transit and exit areas to ensure safe and dignified stays for people and that no specific groups are left out.
  • Developing regional manuals and technical guidelines for the upgrading of IOM temporary accommodation centres in accordance with SPHERE standards.
  • Building coordination and implementation capacities at the regional and national level, expanding to new partners, strengthening synergies with R4V Support Spaces and rolling out the initiative in pilot locations.
Funding required
Plan types
Relocation of Indigenous people in Manaus, Brazil
Relocation of Indigenous people in Manaus, Brazil

Objective 2 - Driving solutions to displacement
Driving solutions to displacement

Funding required
At risk communities
People Targeted
International migrant, Local population / community, Refugee
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

Migrants, refugees, indigenous communities, vulnerable individuals, government counterparts, host communities, health professionals, as well as local and national entities.

Durable solutions

Following its Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations Framework, IOM will promote the socio-economic integration of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, ensuring equal and tailored labour opportunities for men, women and youth. IOM will equally support access to various levels and types of education, ranging from children, with particular attention to girls, to professional/vocational education for youth and adults. IOM plans to carry out the following activities:

  • Facilitate access to income-generating activities through the provision of in-kind grants and seed capital, relevant trainings (such as business start-up and financial literacy) and job fairs, and the implementation of microfinance programs.
  • Enhance the inclusion of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in the formal local labour market by creating new and strengthening current partnerships with the private sector and public employment services to promote corporate social responsibility and the ethical recruitment of refugees and migrants from Venezuela.
  • Provide information on mechanisms to access social services through sensitization initiatives.
  • Conduct multi-country studies on different topics such as remittance trends and impact on local communities, and how the migration flow can contribute to economic development.
  • Facilitate access to the education system through enrolment support and provision of cultural orientation materials, school kits and other supplies.
  • Create mechanisms for the recognition of academic certifications to facilitate access to the formal labour market in the host countries.  
  • Enhance social cohesion among migrants, refugees and host communities through the promotion of cultural events, such as communal urban gardening programmes, and implementation of anti-xenophobia and anti-discrimination campaigns.
  • Provision of agricultural materials to increase the production capacity and self-sufficiency of the indigenous migration affected communities.
  • Provide technical assistance to local governments to develop and implement evidence-based policies on socio-economic integration.
  • Implement the recommendations issued by the Quito Process Technical Working Group on Socio-Economic Integration, such as research, policy development and regional labour mobility platforms.
Funding required
Plan types

Health system strengthening

In order to strengthen health systems in receiving countries, health professionals, as well as local and national entities, will benefit from capacity-building activities, including improved capacity to respond to the needs of vulnerable migrants, refugees and communities, including for COVID-19 prevention, treatment and referrals. IOM plans to:

  • Strengthen the health system, including the provision of emergency healthcare, sexual and reproductive health, paediatric assistance and COVID-19 treatment and prevention, by eliminating access barriers in host countries due to legal status, cultural and gender reasons, lack of documentation and specific requirements, as well as the promotion of sexual and reproductive rights through community-based initiatives.
  • Provide technical assistance to national governments to improve the response of the health care services to the regional Venezuelan crisis. This consists of enhancing the capacity of health centres in providing health assistance and life-saving information. IOM will also ensure mechanisms are in place - and strengthen local entities’ capacities - to prevent, detect, manage and refer a suspected COVID-19 case.
  • Promote sexual and reproductive rights of migrants, refugees and host communities as well as their access to the healthcare system. This includes the implementation of information campaigns and community-based strategies led by local entities.
  • Ensure all health facilities have trained staff, sufficient supplies and equipment for supporting a survivor of GBV, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence with clinical management of rape based on national or international protocols.
Funding required
Plan types

Address the socio-economic impacts of health crises

IOM aims to address the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis through: 

  • A regional study on the post-COVID-19 economic opportunities for refugees and migrants from Venezuela.
  • An online entrepreneurship course tailored to refugee and migrants from Venezuela, including in the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 context.
Funding required
Plan types

Strengthen preparedness and reduce disaster risk

Funding required
At risk communities
People Targeted
International migrant, Local population / community, Refugee
Primary target groups
Description of People and Entities Targeted

Migrants, refugees, vulnerable individuals, government counterparts and communities.

System strengthening for mental health and psychosocial support

MHPSS support will be offered in the form of:

  • Rapid MHPSS needs assessments and mapping in target countries to develop regional MHPSS reports and recommendations for strengthening IOMs MHPSS regional response.
  • Training health workers on MHPSS for migrant populations in vulnerable conditions.
  • Strengthening the capacity of psychologists from Venezuela through workshops on emotional support, MHPSS as well as training on migration-related topics. IOM will also rollout a Training of Trainers on evidence-based technical and programmatic MHPSS approaches to support survivors of GBV in remote locations/social isolation contexts.
Funding required
Plan types

Water, sanitation and hygiene in preparedness and risk reduction

IOM aims to promote improved hygiene practices and sanitation through the provision of activities, supplies and infrastructure, including through: 

  • Providing hygiene kits and vouchers to vulnerable refugees and migrants to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Kits will be tailored to the needs of men women children and children.
  • Virtual Trainings to strengthen hygiene and water management programs capacity for migrants and refugees from Venezuela.
  • Providing equipment and adapting water and sanitation infrastructure; including, construction of wells, installation of filters improvement of sanitation and handwashing points to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 among migrants, refugees and host communities.
Funding required
Plan types

Contribute to an evidence-based and efficient crisis response system

Funding required
At risk communities
People Targeted
Description of People and Entities Targeted

Government counterparts and partners.

Displacement tracking - rename

With the aim of contributing to the availability of reliable, timely and accurate data, IOM will:

  • Track and monitor population mobility through DTM to regularly and systematically capture, process and disseminate information to provide a better understanding of the movements and evolving needs of the Venezuelan population.
  • Reinforce and expand DTM data collection activities such as flow monitoring surveys and mobility tracking, including sub-national level migration data, to get information on changes in flows, vulnerabilities and needs of populations in border, transit and high stock areas,  including information on COVID-19 specific vulnerabilities.
  • Improve data collection on protection risk indicators including TiP, GBV and child-specific protection with the partnership of relevant stakeholders.
  • Harmonize regional analysis and information products to better inform governments and the humanitarian and development communities on existing and emerging trends in the flows of refugees and migrants from Venezuela ensuring they can make evidence-based decisions. This includes strengthening the DTM data management system, increasing national-level outputs and the production of interactive dashboards, and regional and thematic reports, presentations, and datasets through partners and in-house. 
Funding required
Plan types
Operational presence in

Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay

The map used here is for illustration purposes only. Names and boundaries do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by IOM.

Figures are as of 31 December 2023. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.