It’s six in the morning and Samuel Romero is already pulling his bicycle out of a small garage.
The 21-year-old Venezuelan migrant turns on his phone and logs on to Rappi, an app through which freelance cyclists get paid to make deliveries around Bogota, a traffic-clogged city of 8 million. He checks his brakes and rides into the chilly streets. It’s the beginning of a 15-hour workday, in which Romero is hoping he can make around $15 — the equivalent of Venezuela’s monthly minimum wage but barely enough to get by in costlier Colombia.
“I am grateful to have some work” says Romero, who arrived in Colombia last year. “But you really have to devote tons of time to this to make any decent money.”
Around the world, immigrants are flocking to digital platforms like Uber, Doordash or Rappi for freelance work, because they offer a quick chance to earn cash in places where newcomers struggle to find regular jobs.