Cycle 8 (2019 Deadline)
Voluntary geographic redistribution of Venezuelan immigrants in Colombia
PI: Gina Galindo-Pacheco (firstname.lastname@example.org), Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia
U.S. Partner: Jens Hainmueller, Stanford University
Project Dates: November 2019 - April 2021
The main goal of this project is to develop a tool for identifying a potential resettlement location to be recommended to immigrants coming from Venezuela to Colombia. The recommended location should optimize on the economic integration and well-being outcomes for the immigrants. The proposed methodology is based on a data-driven algorithm developed by the Immigration Policy Lab (IPL) at Stanford University, where U.S. partner Dr. Jens Hainmueller is based. The algorithm looks into the historic success of economic integration (measured as the likelihood of finding a job) of immigrants at each location and relates such success with key characteristics of the immigrants, (e.g., English skills, age). Then, it predicts the probability of economic integration outcome for each immigrant in each location in the host country. Finally, the algorithm matches locations with family cases in order to maximize the total economic integration outcome for the immigrant families, while respecting constraints such as the number of available spots at each location. This is expected to contribute to balance the distribution of immigrants among locations in Colombia. The PI Dr. Galindo and her team will adapt the algorithm to the Colombian-Venezuelan context, taking into account their interests not only in economic integration but also in the well-being of immigrants, which implies considering the chances of fulfilling their basic needs, such as medical and educational services, among others. The ILP will provide support through all of the stages of the project to help the Colombian team verify and improve their approaches based on the knowledge and experience their U.S. partner has gained through the application his methodology in the United States and Switzerland. The project is particularly innovative in its attempt to develop a data-driven matching system for integration of immigrants coming from and arriving in a developing country. This is particularly relevant, since it is estimated that nearly half of all immigrants migrate among developing countries, mostly, to neighboring countries. Additionally, even though the problem of resettlement of immigrants has been addressed by several researchers in the past, research has focused solely on refugees, whereas this project would focus on Venezuelan immigrants in general.
| Venezualan immigrant distribution. Source:Proyecto Migración Colombia, Boletín 01, December 2018. Courtesy of Dr. Galindo-Pacheco|
The Organization of American States has estimated that by the end of 2019 the number of Venezuelan migrants will exceed 5 million, with more than 1 million of them arriving in Colombia, their leading destination. This project seeks to create a predictive tool to guide Venezuelan immigrants to the most appropriate locations in Colombia for voluntary resettlement with higher chances of economic integration and well-being. The tool also considers capacities and socioeconomic attributes of localities for better matching of immigrants and localities. The importance of informing settlement choices and guiding the strategic distribution of immigrants has been highlighted by “Proyecto Migración Venezuela” (PMV), which is sponsored by Revista Semana and USAID, and international organizations. This type of initiative has also attracted the interest of the Colombian government through the Border Management Office (BMO), which operates under the office of the Colombian president. This project is aligned with USAID’s mission of helping people to progress beyond assistance by identifying the locations and attributes that will enable better economic and social development of immigrant families. Furthermore, the project focuses on marginalized populations that are vulnerable and require immediate assistance to settle in a new country. The identification of key attributes or drivers that lead to immigrants successful integration should be helpful in guiding authorities in the development of specific training and social assistance programs.
During January-March, 2020 reporting period, the PEER team participated in the meetings related to the Table for Socio-Economic Integration for the Caribbean Region in Colombia. Universidad del Norte was in charge of designing the methodology for developing the action plan of the table, which is led by IOM and FUPAD. In March, NAS and USAID PEER team conducted PEER project site visit in Barranquilla. After organizing meetings with the immigrant community, Dr. Pacheco presented her PEER project at the US embassy, in Bogota to USAID, PEER team also met with staff from Fundación Mario Santo Domingo to generate ideas of collaboration. During the period, two main databases to characterize the immigrant population were processed by the team and worked on models for predicting the probability of finding a job for immigrants based on the database from DANE. A group of students participated in the Hackathon organized by LASER-PULSE, with focus on developing dashborad to visualize data related to migrants.
As of June 2020, the team reported that their prediction models are almost complete. With the support of undergraduate students, the team already developed a dashboard for sharing data about migrants in Barranquilla which is gaining interest from the Major's office and from national GIFMM. The team convened an online meeting with national GIFMM during which they discussed the PEER project and the dashboard.
Challenges: Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the team has had to postpone trips and focus group meetings, as well as events with international and national participants. The PI notes, project findings will have to be considered with care, since the situation of migrants is anticipated to be dramatically different during and in the aftermath of COVID-19.
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|PI Dr. Gina M. Galindo Pacheco, co-PI Daniel H. Romero Rodriguez, and students involved in the project|
|NAS and USAID PEER team from Washington DC visiting Dr. Pacheco's PEER project in March 2020.|| |
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