Members of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) were in Brazil this month and learned about some of the activities of the project Welcomed through work – implemented by AVSI Brasil, with support from AVSI Foundation, and fully financed by PRM.
Welcomed through work opens pathways to formal employment for Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Brazil by offering them language and skills training, connecting them with hiring companies, and supporting their social integration upon legal hiring and relocation. Welcomed through work directly supports the goals of Operation Welcome – a humanitarian task force led by the Brazilian Government the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The project collaborates with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Brazil Global Compact Network.
PRM’s Maria Auxiliadora Guerrero, a specialist in refugee and migration issues, and Katharine Ravetz, program officer, were received in São Paulo by Thais Braga, AVSI Brasil Project Manager for Welcomed through work, who accompanied them on a visit to the construction company Tenda, where the group talked with three Venezuelans hired through the project in 2022. Tenda has already hired 19 Venezuelans in São Paulo and Goiás in partnership with the PRM-funded project.
According to Braga, in three years the project has done 95 “voluntary relocation through employment” processes. “During this period, we transferred 2,226 Venezuelan refugees who were in Roraima to other states. Of this number, more than a thousand people were formally hired in the labor market.”
In Boa Vista, the PRM team visited the new facilities of the educational space for integrating Venezuelan refugees and migrants, inaugurated five months ago. The construction of the space, attached to Operation Welcome’s Interiorization Coordination Center, was an initiative of AVSI Brasil to develop training actions for Welcomed through work and other educational activities aimed at the Venezuelan population, to facilitate their integration in Brazil.
“This type of visit to our activities in the field is extremely important because it allows our funder to visualize the impact of their investment and understand the needs that remain among Venezuelan migrants in Brazil,” said Braga.
In Boa Vista, in the past three years Welcomed through work has certified more than 2,000 Venezuelans in Portuguese Language courses, Job Preparation, and professional skill certificates in Manicure, Waxing, Sales, Cashiering, IT, Culinary, Hydraulic Installation, Basic Automotive Maintenance, and Carpentry.
This was not the first time PRM representatives have visited AVSI Brasil and Welcomed through work. In 2022, the same PRM team was at Casa Bom Samaritano, in Brasília, to see the reception center that receives Venezuelan refugees and migrants from Roraima who comes to Brasilia for work opportunities.
The property, which underwent renovations, was temporarily ceded by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil to AVSI Brasil, which co-manages the house with the Migrations and Human Rights Institute (IMDH). The House has 18 rooms, equipped kitchen; dining room; laundry; library; classrooms for courses, an auditorium, and a lift platform for people with disabilities.