The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced a fund of US$100 million to help Latin American countries to integrate immigrants into local communities and provide them with basic amenities.
The non-reimbursable fund will be used to provide better access to health, education, housing, security, and other services in communities struggling to integrate new arrivals, according to an IDB statement.
The move comes in response to an unprecedented increase in intraregional immigration triggered by economic and political turmoil in countries such as Venezuela, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
The bank says it will also work with various institutions to address the needs of immigrants and their host communities.
Haiti has so far been the biggest beneficiary of the bank’s special grant facility.
As many as 3.5 million Venezuelans have fled to other countries in the region since 2015, and the United Nations predicts that by the end of 2019 there will be 5.4 million Venezuelans living in another country in the region.
Migration flows from Haiti, Nicaragua and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America are also accelerating, posing a challenge to public service delivery.
“Migrants can help make communities more dynamic and prosperous. However, if not adequately managed in the short term, these inflows can strain public services and fiscal budgets, impact labor markets, and generate political tensions,” says Antoni Estevadeordal, a special advisor at the IDB who is coordinating the initiative.
In addition to the grant, the bank will run online training courses and offer other materials to help build public sector capacities for integrating immigrants into their host communities.