USAID/WOCCU Study Shows Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants with Professional Backgrounds Struggle to Find Work in Ecuador

Research presented during webinar hosted by Economic Inclusion Project

August 25, 2023

QUITO, Ecuador—A research study conducted by the USAID/World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Economic Inclusion Project (EIP) shows nearly 40% of Venezuelan refugees and migrants who arrived in Ecuador with professional certifications are still unemployed, with just 19% successfully revalidating those certifications in their new host country.

Those were just a few of the results presented from the "Labor Inclusion Study for Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the cities of Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta and Machala" during an August 17 EIP webinar.

Conducted within the framework of EIP, researchers used surveys, interviews and focus groups to reach 1,915 people in Ecuador, including Venezuelans over the age of 18 and private sector human resource managers, to determine the gaps that exist in the country’s labor market.

Of the Venezuelans who reported being unable to revalidate their professional certifications in Ecuador, 41% believe it is simply because of their nationality, while another 37% think it is because they do not have legal resident status.

"Let's take into account today's lessons to provide opportunities for the Venezuelan migrant and refugee population to improve their future, their autonomy and thus contribute to the country,” said Stephanie Chetraru, Director of the USAID Office of Democracy and General Development in Ecuador, who stressed the importance of economic inclusion efforts like those carried out by EIP.

Since 2020, EIP has successfully helped more than 2,000 Venezuelans receive support for revalidating their diplomas, or professional or technical degree certifications in Peru and Ecuador.

Still, EIP Chief of Party Oscar Guzmán said the research clearly shows the need for more advocacy at the public and political level, so that Venezuelan professionals in Ecuador can revalidate their titles, a process that has a tremendous impact on their socioeconomic integration. Guzman also said companies in Ecuador should start looking at the benefits of having a trained and experienced migrant workforce.

The study will also allow EIP leaders to better identify their key areas of focus, and for international organizations, as well as livelihood and financial partners to work more successfully on the employability of 500,000 Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Ecuador through political advocacy, the strengthening of self-employment and job skills, education and financial inclusion.

A full Spanish-language version of the study is available for download here.

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 90 countries. Worldwide, 82,758 credit unions in 97 countries serve 404 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at

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Contact: Greg Neumann
Organization: World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1 608-395-2048
August 17 webinar
August 17 webinar
Use the QR code above to view a Spanish-language version of the full report
Use the QR code above to view a Spanish-language version of the full report

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