UN Migration Agency Launches Toll-Free Number for Venezuelans in Costa Rica

Hernán, one of the migrants assisted through the toll-free number established by IOM to support Venezuelan migrants arriving in Costa Rica. Photo: IOM

San José – A free telephone information service for Venezuelan migrants currently living in Costa Rica, 800-Venezuela, was launched this week by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, with the support of the Costa Rican 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."

Hernán Pico is one of the migrants who have received assistance through the hotline for Venezuelans in Costa Rica. He left his native Maracay, at the centre of Venezuela, in March 2017. In recent years, he had gone from being a prosperous businessman, producing and exporting sandals, to living solely on payments for home repair services. He was also having difficulties accessing medication (insulin) which is indispensable for him.

Pico decided to fly to Panama, and then moved by land to Costa Rica where he sought out a friend who lived in the town of Rio Frio. With information provided through the 800-Venezuela hotline, Hernán obtained a temporary work permit and is currently exploring options to regularize his residence in Costa Rica.

This 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.

For more Information, please contact Francisco Furlani at IOM Costa Rica, Tel: +506 2212 5300, Email