- Implementation Support Agency (ISA): World Bank
- Total project financing: $506 million
- Funding from GCFF: $6 million
- GCFF Financing Approval Date: 03/24/2020
- Project Closing Date: 06/30/2021
- % Disbursed: 100%
- Status: Closed
About the project
The operation is part of the World Bank’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in Ecuador. The proposed operation is the second in a programmatic Development Policy Financing (DPF) series of three operations. The World Bank had been working with Ecuador in a DPF series to support the Government of Ecuador’s structural reform program, aimed at: (i) increasing the efficiency of public spending and revenue mobilization; (ii) removing barriers to the development of the private sector; and (iii) ensuring that vulnerable segments of the population are protected from the impacts of the first two sets of reforms. However, following the COVID-19 crisis, the series has been restructured to support Ecuador’s responses to the emergency while preserving the bulk of the medium-term reform agenda contemplated initially, which is now even more critical to supporting Ecuador’s economy in the post-crisis recovery.
Project Development Objective (PDO)
This DPF series supports measures aimed at: i) responding to COVID-19 to protect the vulnerable; ii) removing barriers to the private sector development and supporting the economic recovery; iii) promoting public sector efficiency and fiscal sustainability during the recovery.
Project Implementation Status
(As of December 31, 2022)
- As of July 2019, more than 80 percent of the people who entered the country were registered by an officer, but 54 percent of those who resided were in an irregular situation. In response to this situation, the government took an important step to integrate Venezuelan migrants into Ecuadorian society. On July 25, 2019, the government approved the Executive Decree 826 which gathered information on migrants (Migrant Census) and created a humanitarian visa to regularize Venezuelans was applied between August 2019 through March 2020, however, due to the pandemic was further extended through August 2020. This humanitarian visa granted multiple entries in and from the country and the right to work during a two-year period. This enabled formalizing migrant workers and increasing their salaries by up to 18.1.9 Accordingly, this DPF supported Ecuador in proactively managing the integration of large inflows of Venezuelan migrants providing a legal and strategic framework that delineates roles and responsibilities across government entities for integrating refugees and migrants in a sustainable manner.
- The Executive Decree No. 826 established the first Census of migrants and foreign citizens in Ecuador (i.e. the Migrant Registry). The Decree also granted a migration amnesty and initiated the process of issuing temporary residence visas for humanitarian reasons for Venezuelan citizens. The registry’s objective was to collect relevant information on the conditions and characteristics of Venezuelan citizens residing in the country to establish adequate and timely public policies for the migrant community in Ecuador.
- The registry process targeted Venezuelan citizens residing in Ecuador temporarily or permanently, and who wished to benefit from the regularization process described in the Executive Decree No. 826. The registry process was a multistep process. Migrants had to start their self-registration on a virtual platform, this was followed by an in-person visit to the Migratory Support Service Units for the validation of information and registration of biometric information. As of June 2022, 165,761 Venezuelan migrants registered.
- The difference between the initial target of registrations of 230,000 migrants and the final number of completed registrations of 165,761 migrants can be explained by different factors. First and foremost, the impact of the COVID19 pandemic and associated public health measures. On March 11, 2020, the Minister of Public Health issued Ministerial Agreement No. 126-2020, declaring a state of National Health Emergency, followed by a March 16, 2020, a Presidential Executive Decree No. 1017 declaring a state of emergency. As a result, by March 18, 2020, the biometric immigration registration was suspended, and it only resumed functions (slowly) on June 14, 2020. In addition, access barriers to the virtual service (even mobile platforms that were also discontinued due to COVID-19), mobility barriers for the in-person component of the registration, information barriers, and fears of consequences if a visa was not granted, might have prevented some migrants from completing their registration.