Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Access to Labour and “Differential Inclusion” for Young Venezuelan Migrants in Ecuador

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Abstract:  Young migrants and refugees provide important inputs concerning production and social reproduction mechanisms (care work) that reproduce unequal but highly profitable patterns of accumulation around the world. The expansion of globalisation and neoliberalism has deepened such social dynamics, leading to a “multiplication of labour.” The diversification and heterogenization of migrant labour within neoliberal frameworks raise ethical and human rights concerns, including issues related to fair wages, working conditions, and access to social protections. After a neoliberal era in Latin America, the emergence of post‐development politics in the region led to increased efforts to address the needs of these populations. This article seeks to contribute to debates about “differential inclusion” in South–South migration and access to labour and social protection by analysing a specific case study of young Venezuelans, a recently growing phenomenon that has a great impact on the region. Ecuador is noteworthy because it hosts one of the largest populations of Venezuelan migrants and refugees and has adopted a human rights perspective in conjunction with public investments in social policy, health, and education. Despite efforts to legalize the work status of Venezuelan migrants, a more restrictive policy began to be implemented in 2019 that limited their access to formal labour and social protection. Within these complex dynamics of differential inclusion, instead of seeing these young migrants and refugees as victims, we analyse their resilience strategies of accessing social provisions while coping with informality and irregular status, as well as conditions of multiplication of labour. Using four real‐life stories as examples taken from a larger ethnographic study, we illustrate how dynamics of differential inclusion intersect with the gender, age, and legal status of young Venezuelans in Ecuador. The case studies are complemented with structural explanations from 6,000 household surveys collected between 2017 and 2020.

Keywords:  displacement; human mobility; inclusion policy; labour insertion; South–South migration; Venezuela; youth

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.7762


© Daniela Célleri. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.