Report: Venezuelans with degrees face bias

An in­ter­na­tion­al study on Venezue­lans in T&T showed 46 per cent of re­spon­dents have ter­tiary or uni­ver­si­ty lev­el ed­u­ca­tion, 53 per cent com­plained of fac­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion be­cause of their na­tion­al­i­ty and 14 per cent com­plained of be­ing mis­treat­ed at work.

At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi, who gave the de­tails in the Sen­ate on Tues­day night, said the study was done by the In­ter­na­tion­al Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mi­gra­tion (IOM). He was speak­ing dur­ing de­bate on an Op­po­si­tion mo­tion to an­nul Gov­ern­ment’s Im­mi­gra­tion Reg­u­la­tions.

The reg­u­la­tions al­low Venezue­lans to work in T&T for a year un­der Gov­ern­ment’s amnesty ex­er­cise. The mo­tion was, how­ev­er, de­feat­ed.

The Op­po­si­tion has a sim­i­lar mo­tion for Pri­vate Mem­bers’ day in the Low­er House, ex­pect­ed to­mor­row.

Al-Rawi said the IOM study al­so showed the ed­u­ca­tion­al qual­i­fi­ca­tions of Venezue­lan re­spon­dents, in­cludes Mas­ters and oth­er types of de­grees. He said 20 per cent said they had re­ceived job of­fers in T&T and eight per cent com­plained of phys­i­cal abuse at work.

He al­so not­ed that while Venezue­lan women are ap­pre­ci­at­ed for beau­ty, “on the oth­er hand they’re ob­jects of sex­u­al preda­tors—19 lit­tle girls were found in­car­cer­at­ed in sex­u­al slav­ery here.”

He said while the IMF es­ti­mat­ed half the Venezue­lan pop­u­la­tion is un­em­ployed, there has been a 232 per cent in­crease of Venezue­lans at the Im­mi­gra­tion De­ten­tion Cen­tre.

“When I vis­it­ed and spoke to peo­ple, the ma­jor­i­ty said they would hap­pi­ly re­turn home but couldn’t pay for it and they asked for a chance to earn the pas­sage to re­turn home,” he told the Sen­ate

Al-Rawi said it cost T&T tax­pay­ers be­tween $12,000 to $25,000 for each per­son at the IDC.

Op­po­si­tion Sen­a­tor Sad­dam Ho­sein said Gov­ern­ment’s state­ments on “look­ing at” what would hap­pen to the one year pro­gramme when it ends could not be trust­ed since the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­istry’s web­sites stat­ed that the law will re­vert to nor­mal and Venezue­lans would be de­port­ed af­ter the year.

Reporter: Gail Alexander

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