Colombia to give legal status to up to 540,000 Venezuelan migrants

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia will give legal status to up to 540,000 Venezuelan migrants who are guardians to minors residing in the country, Colombia's country's migration agency said on Tuesday.

Colombia has been a destination of choice for millions of Venezuelans seeking to escape the political and economic turmoil of their homeland, while others have used the Andean country as a stepping stone onwards to other nations.

More than 2.8 million Venezuelan migrants currently live in Colombia, according to official statistics, and the measure will benefit adults taking care of some 270,000 minors who have permission to reside in Colombia.

"It's a special permission to stay, like the previous ones, that fundamentally seeks to integrate guardians, those people who have responsibility for minors who have a temporary protection permit and who live in Colombia," agency director Carlos Fernando Garcia told journalists.

In 2021, the then government of President Ivan Duque said it would give 10-year legal status to Venezuelans living in Colombia, an offer taken up by many migrants.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta and Oliver Griffin; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)