Give Me Your Tired and Your Poor: Impact of a Large-Scale Amnesty Program for Undocumented Refugees

66 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2020

See all articles by Dany Bahar

Dany Bahar

Brookings Institution; Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID)

Ana Ibanez

Inter-American Development Bank

Sandra Rozo

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business; University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics

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Abstract

Between 2014 and 2020 over 1.8 million refugees fled from Venezuela to Colombia as a result of a humanitarian crisis, many of them without a regular migratory status. We study the short- to medium-term labor market impacts in Colombia of the Permiso Temporal de Permanencia program, the largest migratory amnesty program offered to undocumented migrants in a developing country in modern history. The program granted regular migratory status and work permits to nearly half a million undocumented Venezuelan migrants in Colombia in August 2018.To identify the effects of the program, we match confidential administrative data on the location of undocumented migrants with department-monthly data from household surveys and compare labor outcomes in departments that were granted different average time windows to register for the amnesty online, before and after the program roll-out. We are only able to distinguish negative albeit negligible effects of the program on the formal employment of Colombian workers. These effects are predominantly concentrated in highly educated and in female workers.

Keywords: migration, work permit, labor markets, amnesties

JEL Classification: F22, O15, R23

Suggested Citation

Bahar, Dany and Ibanez, Ana María and Rozo, Sandra, Give Me Your Tired and Your Poor: Impact of a Large-Scale Amnesty Program for Undocumented Refugees. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13743, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3704124

Dany Bahar (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

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Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID)

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Ana María Ibanez

Inter-American Development Bank

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Sandra Rozo

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

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University of Southern California - Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics ( email )

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