Overview

Ongoing political, human rights, and socio-economic developments in Venezuela have led to the outflow of more than three million Venezuelans since 2015. Since October 2017, Venezuelans require a visa to enter Panama, yet it remains the main destination for refugees and migrants looking for protection and better opportunities in Central America.?94,000 (est.) Venezuelans are hosted as of end October 2018, 90% in Panama province.?

Venezuelans mainly enter Panama by air, although arrivals have recently increased across the Darién gap, along Panama’s southern border with Colombia.?This crossing can take several days by boat and foot and presents high health risks.?There are also secondary movements from Costa Rica to Panama.?

Panama’s regularization pathway has certain requirements regarding documentation and cost which makes it inaccessible to many Venezuelans. Asylum seekers cannot obtain a work permit to obtain formal employment until a positive decision is taken on their asylum claim.? Deteriorating living conditions of Venezuelans has been reported, including overcrowding, restrictions on access to health services, discrimination, and xenophobia.?

INFORM measures Panama's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be medium, at 3.1. Vulnerability is measured at 2.3.?

Latest Developments

No recent significant humanitarian developments. This country is being monitored by our analysis team.

Key figures

  • 94,000 (est.) Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Panama  [?]
  • 35,000 have faced discrimination  [?]
  • 15,000 have struggled to access food in the last month  [?]

Key priorities

Essential services: Access to basic services such as health, education, housing and humanitarian assistance.?

Livelihoods: Access to livelihoods, labour opportunities and social welfare programmes.?

Information Gaps and needs

The number of Venezuelans in Panama is unknown and could be significantly higher than estimates.

More reliable data on protection needs and profiles, socio-economic situations, reasons for leaving the country, and vulnerabilities would be beneficial.

No official information is available on separated or unaccompanied children, children left behind in Venezuela by migrant parents, or about children who may need international protection.