CARACAS, Monday January 13, 2014 | Update

Number of outgoing Venezuelans on the rise

No opportunities and insecurity are to blame for the exodus

Venezuela suffers a substantial loss out of the emigration of skilled staff (File photo)
Monday January 13, 2014  01:12 PM
Venezuelans are leaving. In 2005-2010, the number of Venezuelan residents abroad climbed from 378,000 to 521,000.

Data appeared in "Emigration from Venezuela in the last decade," a paper authored by Anitza Freitez, Ph. D. of Demography and the headmistress of the Economic and Social Research Institute, Andrés Bello Catholic University (IIES-UCAB).

Freitez arrived at this number in reviewing the estimates of the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank.  "In Venezuela, there is no access to national statistical sources that allow making some approach of the quantification of international emigration of people born in Venezuela," said the scholar. She resorted to varied international sources in order to write the paper covering data through 2010.

The IIES-UCAB director pointed out that the migratory current started in the eighties and nineties and accentuated last decade. "Emigration of Venezuelans has been growing, particularly in middle strata of the population. Failure to envisage individual development prospects and individual security are among the most frequent reasons."


The United States is one of the main destinations of the Venezuelan exodus. Based on Imila project (Investigation into the international migration in Latin America by the Latin American Demography Center), about 33,000 Venezuelans settled down in the United States by 1980. One decade later, the Venezuelan community rose to 42,000 and in 2000 soared to 107,000.

Freitez noted that the World Bank vouched the trend when stating that in 2005, about 130,000 Venezuelans had moved to the United States; five years later, the number reached 172,000.

As regards Spain, the World Bank calculated that in 2005-2010 the Venezuelan community went from 148,000 on to 164,000. "The size of the flow of migrants who enter Spain from Venezuela is not established in a expedite way because a fraction of them disappears from statistics through citizenship recovery," Freitez contended.

Even in Oceania Venezuelans mushroom. The professor highlights that in 2000 approximately 1,000 settled down in Australia. In seven-year term, the contingent doubled.

Asking for help

Relying on the information supplied by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Freitez underlined: "Between 2003 and 2004, the number of (Venezuelan) refugees doubled from 598 to 1,256, and between 2004 and 2009, the number of Venezuelan refugees was five-fold higher, up to 6,221. By that date, there is also a log of 1,580 Venezuelan applicants for refuge."

The specialist in demography underscored another attribute of Venezuelan emigration. "It has been found that Venezuela, while it is not included in the list of countries with the highest emigration rates, it is among the top 30 with the highest selectivity rates (60.1%), measured as the ratio of the number of skilled emigrants to the total stock of emigrants."

In this regard, an inquiry conducted by the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) found that by 2007 the percentage of Venezuelan immigrants aged 25 years and older, residing in the United States and with a Ph.D. (14%) remained above the mean US population (9%) and Latin American residents in the United States.

Notwithstanding the connected economic loss as most of this human resource was built thanks to the Venezuelan State investment, Freitez lamented "the dwindling scientific and personal community, particularly in some fields of expertise, such as health sciences."