Immigrants’ contribution to development in the Global South: Comparing policy responses to Venezuelan immigration in Peru and Argentina

Ariel González Levaggi, Luisa Feline Freier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review


By April 2021, Venezuela’s multidimensional crisis had led over 5.6 million of the country’s citizens to emigrate, mostly across South America. This chapter offers a comparative analysis of national policy responses to Venezuelan immigration in Argentina and Peru from a development perspective in the period 2015‒2020. Although the government of each country recognised the potential of disproportionate numbers of highly skilled Venezuelan immigrants, Argentina has been more successful than Peru in offering them legal pathways to immigration and incorporating them into the formal labour market. Our key argument is that Argentina has been able to foster the integration of Venezuelans—in terms of granting regular status, validating academic and professional degrees and providing access to basic social services—for three reasons: first, the lower overall numbers and higher socio-economic characteristics of the migrants; second, Argentina’s progressive legislative immigration framework; and third, the prominent role of civil society actors lobbying for immigrants and pushing for more inclusive public policies. In the case of Peru, the rapid increase in numbers of immigrants has led to a surge in xenophobic public opinion, which has generated pressure to implement non-inclusive policies. The country’s new immigration law lacks institutional consolidation, and there is no strong civil society to act as a counterweight to restrictive policy developments. The chapter contributes to the literature on the migration–development nexus, pointing out the importance of state capacity and civil society when thinking about migration and development in the global South.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Development Policy
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2022


  • Governance
  • Migration
  • Migration policies
  • Global South
  • Social services
  • Civil society
  • Labour market


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