For a time, Venezuela encouraged large-scale immigration in the hope that the newcomers would help increase the nation's food production. Although the yearly totals of foreigners entering Venezuela were high, a large portion of these immigrants remained only briefly. In the decades immediately before and after World War II, nearly 500,000 Europeans—mostly from Italy, Spain, and Portugal—came to Venezuela. By 1990, however, only 5.7% of the resident population was of foreign birth. In 1989 there were 18,893 immigrants and 9,643 emigrants. An estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants, most of them Colombians, were living in Venezuela in 1985. Internal migration in the 1980s was chiefly from the federal district to adjoining areas and eastward from the state of Zulia, in the far northwest. Between 1990–97, 1,630 persons were given refugee status by the UNHCR in Venezuela. As of 1999, government sources reported at least 1,500,000 Colombians in Venezuela, of whom only 500,000 were legal residents. In June 1999 alone, some 3,500 Colombians entered the country following a paramilitary offensive in the Colombian area of La Gabarra. In the same year, there were 166 recognized refugees, of whom only 27 were Colombians. The net migration movement in 1999 was -0.23 migrants per 1,000 population. The total number of migrants was 1,006,000 in 2000, including the small number of remaining refugees. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.