Colombia has been a largely emigration country, with negative net migration rates since at least the 1980s and with a foreign-born population of less than 0.5 percentage points of the total population. Recently, since 2010, the country has attracted a growing flow of immigrants, with the number of entries doubling between 2010-2013, reaching a total of 29,840 immigrants in 2013, which is still a small number for a country with 48 million inhabitants.
The outflow of Colombian emigrants to OECD member countries and Latin America has remained relatively constant, with a slight increase of 3% between 2009 and 2012. The United States has the highest percentage of Colombian migrants, with 36% of the total. Since 2009, Argentina and Chile have become destination countries for Colombians, with the number of Colombian migrants more than doubling and tripling, respectively.
The labor market participation rate of Colombians in Europe and the United States fell by 1.6 percentage points between 2010-2011 and 2012-2013. During that same period, the employment rate of Colombian emigrants increased slightly (0.4%) while the unemployment rate decreased by 2 percentage points, reaching 17.9%.
In 2013, Colombia received 229 asylum applications, showing an increase of 131% in relation to asylum applications in 2012. The most important countries of origin were Cuba, Somalia and Bangladesh. The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports a total of 57 recognized refugees since 2009.
Remittances amounted to more than 4 billion dollars, increasing 2.3% from 2012 to 2013, placing Colombia as the largest recipient of remittances in South America, followed distantly by Peru with $2,707 million dollars.
It is important to mention that in 2011, through Decree Law 4062, the Special Administrative Unit for Colombia Migration was created as the only immigration control authority in the country. This Entity, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is in charge of executing migratory processes in Colombia, such as migratory control, aliens, and migratory verification.
That same year, Migration Colombia formulated its Institutional Strategic Plan “Frontiers Online 2012-2014”. The Plan establishes the guidelines for the consolidation of a new migration institutional structure with the aim of implementing a new migration management model.
Regarding the current regulations on migration, Decree 834 of April 2013 establishes new provisions on migration, including specific aspects on visas, control, surveillance and migration verification, entry permits and extensions of stay, registration and documentation and exit. The Decree adapts the Colombian visa system to international code standards. The types of visas were reduced from seven to four and the categories increased from 18 to 20. Some relevant changes in relation to the entry and stay system were:
- The temporary work visa (new temporary visa TP-4), can now be issued without prejudice to the legal requirement to practice a profession. This will only be necessary once the visa has been issued.
- Permanent residence visas, which were previously issued for an indefinite period, are now valid for 5 years. The Decree also extends the benefits of the visa to the spouse or partner, parents, and children over 25 years of age who are economically dependent on the visa holder.
Colombia signed the “Agreement on Residence for Nationals of the States Parties to Mercosur, Bolivia and Chile” in July 2012 and began applying it on December 1 of the same year. In this way, Mercosur citizens can establish themselves with a two-year resident visa in Colombia with minimum requirements, at the end of which this Residence becomes permanent if the petitioner so wishes. In 2013 Colombia extended, on a reciprocal basis, the migratory benefits of the Mercosur Residency Agreement to nationals of Uruguay and Paraguay, thus completing eight beneficiary nationalities along with Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.
Maintaining a policy of rapprochement between Colombia and the Eurasia region, nationals from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia and Romania were exempted from the visa requirement for visits of up to 180 days.
Return Law 1565, published in 2012, and regulated through Decrees 1000 and 2064 of 2013, specifies the modalities and incentives for the return of Colombians abroad. Provides customs, tax and financial incentives for the return of Colombians who have lived abroad for more than 3 years and who meet the other requirements provided by law.
In December 2012, Decree 2840 established changes to the procedure for the recognition of refugee status, with new guidelines for the Advisory Commission for the Determination of Refugee Status and other provisions. The Decree seeks to regulate the duration of the permit in an effort to adapt to the changing realities of refugee applications, with the aim of reducing as much as possible the abuses committed during the procedures and with the aim of protecting victims of human trafficking. . Likewise, it offers complementary protection as an alternative to applicants who have not obtained refugee status, as long as a special condition of vulnerability that requires special attention is demonstrated.
Main indicators of migratory movements, the migrant population and the employment of emigrants
|Immigration (foreigners)||Number of people||Per 1000 inhabitants||Change in percentage|
|permanent and temporary||15055||20866||23679||29840||0.61753171291274||98.206575888409|
|Total immigration by type||Number of people||% distribution|
|Emigration (nationals)||Number of people||% of the total||% change|
|Non-standardized data of destination countries||2009||2010||2011||2012||2012||2012/2009|
|All the countries||101823||92336||100905||104540||100||2.6683558724453|
|Asylum applications and refugees||per million inhabitants||Number of people|
|Components of population growth||per thousand inhabitants|
|Natural growth (vegetative)||21.87||20.131||18.172||16.399||15.088|
|Foreign-born population||Percentage with respect to the total population||Personas||% change|
|remittances||Millions of dollars||% of GDP||% change|
|Macroeconomic indicators||Annual growth in %||Average annual growth||Level|
|Real Gross Domestic Product||3.9718007047375||6.5895115155713||4.0490258032869||4.6780334803558||4.8220928759879||–|
|Gross Domestic Product/per capita (PPP at 2011 international dollars)||2.5235047319271||5.1310455305749||2.648439486858||3.2955725555663||3.3996405762316||12025|
|Labor insertion of national emigrants in Europe and the United States||percentages|