As of August 2021, more than 1.8 million migrants and refugees lived in Colombia. Despite this population’s work capacity, the employability levels and the possibility for them to access labour formalization programmes and social security schemes are low. According to the Great Integrated Household Survey, in 2018-19, about 93.5% of migrants had no formal contract, and 94.5% had no social security coverage. At the end of 2019, the National Administrative Department of Statistics reported that the health scheme protected only 9% of the Venezuelan migrants employed in the country. At the same time, just 3% were affiliated with a pension scheme.

The project seeks to ensure that the Colombian social protection system protects the Venezuelan migrant population and Colombian returnees from Venezuela through:

1. improving the employability conditions of migrants, observing that the population is inserted in a route where they strengthen their labour skills, which promotes their insertion and securing of a formal job.

2. the adaptation of the social protection system, by analyzing, through transparent and solid social dialogue, the elements requiring adaptation to cover new developments in the labour market, particularly the migrant population. 

In addition, measures to facilitate complementary processes will be strengthened, including the exchange of information between national institutions in charge of identifying and registering migrants and Colombian returnees for social protection schemes. In this process, special emphasis will be placed on the production and availability of sex-disaggregated data, and on the analysis considering the practical and strategic needs of migrant and refugee women, making available the tools developed by the ILO.


Results 2022 & 2023


  • The “Toolbox for a Colombia with social protection for Colombians, migrants and returnees” was launched as an educational tool to raise awareness among territorial officials about the national social security system and its affiliation mechanisms.
  • The Migrant Bird Tour of social protection was conducted in February and March 2023, visiting seven regions of the country to validate, with tripartite constituents, the findings of public policy to extend social protection to Colombians, migrants and returnees.
  • The Compatibility analysis of Colombian social security legislation in the light of Convention 102 of 1952 on social security (minimum standard) was launched. Read about it here.


  • An awareness-raising and information campaign on social protection called “Los Derechos también Migran” (Rights also migrate) was designed and launched with the aim of making Colombian migrants and returnees from Venezuela aware of their social protection rights and promoting their effective access to the Colombian social security system. The campaign was launched on 18 December 2022 as part of International Migrants Day.
  • In October 2022, the barriers that limit the formal hiring of Venezuelan migrants and Colombian returnees were compiled. This exercise succeeded in identifying the individual, environmental and organisational barriers that prevent this population from joining the social protection system.
  • Indicators were identified to provide context for the socio-labour characteristics and labour participation of the Venezuelan migrant population and Colombian returnees. By November 2022, the information obtained was compiled and analysed in a report that will serve as input for the development of policy recommendations to extend social protection coverage to the Venezuelan migrant population and Colombian returnees.
  • In December 2022, policy recommendations were formulated for a roadmap to extend social protection to migrants and returnees in Colombia and for a transition plan towards formality for the migrant and returnee population in Colombia.

The #RightsAlsoMigrate campaign

Capacity building for constituents

Technical products


News and Events

Project Partners

The ILO will directly implement the project in a joint effort with the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, Migration Colombia, the Office for the Attention and Socio-Economic Integration of the Migrant Population of the Presidency of the Republic and the Delegation of the European Union in the country. In addition, it is proposed to involve other public institutions and employers’ and workers’ organisations in the design and implementation of the project.


Mr. Pablo Casalí, Social Protection Expert, ILO Office for the Andean Countries –

Ms. Martha Agudelo, National Monitoring and Programming Officer for the project office of Colombia,  –

Human Rights are Universal: a video of the campaign #RightsAlsoMigrate (Spanish)

Infographic summary of the SP&PFM National Forum on Migration and Social Protection, November 2022 (in Spanish).

Migrant worker at her workplace in the city of Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, February 2021.

Migrant worker at his workplace in the city of Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, February 2021.

The capital city of Bogota, one of the main destinations for migrants seeking employment in Colombia.