The Venezuelan Diaspora in Chile

Throughout South America, there are a number of discrepancies in the accessibility, availability, and prospect of opportunities for citizens. These factors contribute to trends which are the by-product of enduring economic and political restrictions.

 

An illustration of this is occurring in Venezuela, where citizens are rebelling against a political ideology that has fostered human rights encroachment and abhors any opposition. For Venezuelans seeking to escape corruption and crime associated with the nation’s political regime to pursue more opportunities elsewhere, Chile, perhaps, is the ideal destination. In recent years, Venezuelans, along with citizens of other South American nations, have decided to remain in the continent, choosing instead to attempt to emigrate to Chile.

 

Although there are intricate explanations behind citizens’ motives to emigrate, these explanations continue to center around economic needs as reported by the International Migratory Fund. These needs may be met or even exceeded by what immigration offers a citizen but the act of traveling to another nation is teeming with uncertainty. The process of immigration can ve dangerous, sometimes even deadly. Despite this, many Venezuelans have decided that the risks are worth potential immigration into Chile.

 

There are several important points of distinction that may encourage Venezuelans and others to emigrate to Chile. The process of emigration into Chile is easier than other countries, as President Michelle Bachelet has eased the process of obtaining visas and has also worked with refugees to ensure a path to citizenship, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Additionally, Chile is the wealthiest in South America. Crime in the nation – particularly homicides – are lower in Chile than in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela according to US News & World Report. In addition, Chile’s success as an economic pillar in South America is multi-faceted. Its economic influence is far reaching as the nation has a Trade Agreement with the United States of America which has totaled over $15 billion worth of exports to the USA since its inception in 2004, according to Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

Even U.S. cities, such as Miami, are feeling the benefits from economic investments in Chile as the city has an entire week – Chile Week USA – dedicated to showcasing the nation’s cultural economic potential. Finally, according to The Santiago Times, Chile has implemented a Technology Visa program which can expedite the visa process to just fifteen days for those desiring to start tech businesses within the country. This is in stark contrast to what is occurring in other countries with respect to the issue of immigration and visas.

The duration of the resoundingly liberal immigration policies is certainly up for debate. Given that Chile had the highest rate of immigration from the years 2010-2015, as displayed above, the debate surrounding immigration may retain its importance in yet another part of the world. With an upcoming presidential election this year, a shift in immigration policy may be in store for South Americans yearning to emigrate to Chile. Due to the fact that Chile has an inviting atmosphere for immigrants and potential emigrants, there will undoubtedly be Chileans who welcome such policies to create a more diverse community. In doing so, the Chilean economy may become more robust as immigrants may work in industries where pertinent to previous jobs or previous studies. On the other hand, there will also be criticism by those who oppose such policies.

 

Leaders opposing increasing migration into Chile may collaborate with nations where the highest concentration of migrants’ country of origin. It remains to be seen how immigration policies and potential emigration will affect the relationships among South American nations both this year and in the future.


Christopher Pratts is a contributor for Politicsay. Christopher graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in Global Technology and Development and Interdisciplinary Studies. Christopher’s work focuses on human development, immigration rights, international development, and LGBT rights in Africa and Latin America.

Christopher Pratts