Job opportunities and low cost of living are some of the reasons for Venezuelans traveling to Spain
In 2014, the Venezuelan community in Spain reached 58% , but as a result of the growing social and economic crisis of recent years in Venezuela, product of the Chavist model, Nicolás Maduro and his allies, today the figure reaches 142 %, as reported by the National Institute of Statistics of Spain.
Leer en español: ¿Por qué España es el Plan B para los migrantes venezolanos?
Although Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile have become the closest option to escape from Venezuela, Spain is the plan b for the different types of migrants that are arriving.
Who are they?
These are Venezuelans who have family ties in Spanish territory, businessmen, or citizens who left their country before the chaos began, says El País de España. Among the cases consulted by this newspaper is that of Sandra Araujo, a 51-year-old from Caracas who after the kidnapping of a nephew in 2014 decided to go to Miami, USA, where her daughter is studying.
In Miami, she lived off the rent that the three properties that she managed to buy, because in Venezuela, the hospital that her family administered fell into ruin. However, the difficulty to obtain the residence and the high cost of living of in the United States, took her to Spain, because according to Sandra it is cheaper to survive.
As for Venezuelan businessmen, 79 were able to benefit from the Golden Visa -a mechanism that provides automatic residence for buying properties over half a million euros-, at the end of 2017, according to data from the Ministry of Economy of Spain.
Those Venezuelans who retain their family ties in Spain and have a stable purchasing power have benefited - and still do today - from the non-profit residence visa. This allows people to live legally for a year with the possibility of extending to three, without working and having a bank account with a minimum of 26,000 euros plus the payment of medical insurance.
When they are 2 years old living legally, those from Ibero-American countries can apply for Spanish nationality, explains to El País, Alexander Rangel, a US immigration lawyer, who has helped more than 500 Venezuelans reach Spain.
The other side of the coin: low-income Venezuelans
According to the National Survey of Living Conditions of the Venezuelan Population (Encovi) of April of this year, of the 80% of Venezuelan who emigrated in the last two years, "a third only reached the baccalaureate or did not complete it". It also notes that "12% of households with emigrants correspond to the poorest stratum of the population".
This would mean for a low-income Venezuelan not being able to reach Spain or do so in precarious conditions. The sociologist, Tomás Páez, promoter of the Observatory of the Venezuelan Diaspora, tells El País: "To buy air tickets with my salary as a university professor in Venezuela, I would need to save 20 years."
Information from the Asylum and Refugee Office (OAR, in Spanish) on the international protection petitions, collected by the chain Ser de España reveal that "for the third consecutive year, 12,785 Venezuelans have requested asylum in Spain so far in 2018." Those who manage to land "do so with the passport in their mouths; they come with nothing, at most 300 euros to see how they survive", tells José Antonio, a lawyer of Venezuelan origin living in Spain since 2010.
Latin American Post | Edwin Guerrero Nova
Translated from “España es el Plan B para los migrantes venezolanos”