How to Strengthen the Protection of Migrant Workers in the Americas?

Category: 

The new dynamics of migration in the Americas are closely linked to the search of new opportunities of employment and income generation.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that around 27% of all migrant workers worldwide are in the Americas (37 million in North America and 4.3 million in Latin America and the Caribbean), a figure which is increasing.  Between 2010 and 2015, the number of migrant workers in the region increased by 34 per cent.

This mobility is motivated by the search of better opportunities of employment and the desire of improving the quality of life of migrants, which interacts with other structural factors as poverty and lack of security, which are also drivers of migration.

The increase in the flow of migrant workers has considerable challenges in a labor market marked by unemployment and informality. According to data of ILO, unemployment affects 26 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean and at least 133 million people are impacted by informality, particularly women, youth and low-skilled workers with low educational attainment.

Against this backdrop, the 19th American Regional Meeting of ILO, celebrated from October 2-5 in Panama with the participation of IOM, and its report “Preparing the future of work we want in the Americas through social dialogue” offers 10 recommendations to improve the protection of labor rights in migrant population and to promote migrant participation in the discussion and consideration to achieve the overall goal of decent work for all.

  1. Approach labor migration from a perspective of human rights, aligned with the principles of social justice and decent work.
  2. Address the gaps and fragmentation of migration governance in the regional integration agreements.
  3. Strengthen the labor rights approach in migration governance institutions.
  4. Promote the participation of labor issues key stakeholders in the regional consultation processes on migration.
  5. Integrate social dialogue about migration in the different processes of regional integration.
  6. Include Labor Ministries in the work of intergovernmental commission about migration.
  7. Promote measures to align migration and employment policies.
  8. Improve the capacities of institutions linked to the labor market to address issues of labor migration.
  9. Increase the participation of migrant workers in unions and associations to ensure their voice is included in processes of social dialogue.
  10. Improve knowledge and information about labor migration through the creation of information systems and statistical records.

Regarding the recommendations, Michela Macchiavello, IOM Regional Thematic Specialist for Labor Migration, underscored the growing importance of articulation with regional consultation processes on migration and the establishment of partnerships. In the Americas, the Regional Conference on Migration (CRM), for North and Central American countries, and the South American Conference on Migration, for South American countries; and most recently, the Caribbean Migration Consultations (CMC) are particularly relevant to the discussion, as they focus more and more on labor migration issues.

“IOM believes that a comprehensive governmental approach and the creation of partnerships that include agencies related to migration, civil society, the private sector, workers, migrant representatives and international are a priority for the effective and humane advancement of national and regional policies, including labor migration policies and programs that promote a regular, orderly and secure migration, while they provide protection to migrants and workers who are more vulnerable”.

Without a doubt, migration and labor mobility are and will continue to be of increasing importance for the world of work and, therefore, will require the attention and collaborative action of governments and other relevant stakeholders.

 

 

   Sobre la autora:

Sofía Guerrero holds a Communications degree of the University of Costa Rica and a Master in International Human Rights of the Josef Korbel Schoof of International Studies of the University of Denver. She was a journalis at La Nación, Advocacy and International Cooperation Coordinator at Fundacion Paniamor, Communications Coordinator for Executive Education at INCAE Business School, and consultant for the Central American Integration System and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Wordship of Costa Rica. Recently, she worked as a Foreign Policy Attaché at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica. 

 


How can Central American migrants become regularized in Mexico?

How can Central American migrants become regularized in Mexico?
Categoria: Immigration and Border Management
Autor: Guest Contributor

Thousands of migrants, asylum seekers and Central American refugees go north in search of better opportunities. Most of these people leave from Northern Central American countries (PNCA - Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador).

Some resort to irregular migration, exposing themselves to travel dangers and the restrictions that this implies if they manage to reach their country of destination. However, an IOM study in which more than 2,800 interviews were conducted showed that in NTCA 97% of migrants in transit make a great effort to obtain documents to regulate their stay in Mexico. In addition, between 59% and 70% of people would be willing to be involved in local education, employment or entrepreneurship opportunities, as an alternative to irregular migration.

Migrants who leave the NTCA when they reach the southern border of Mexico have 3 options to request their regular stay in this country:

1. Regional Visitor: allows a person to remain in Mexico for a period not exceeding 7 days in the States of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo and Tabasco. The card is valid for 5 years, has no cost and does not allow paid activities.

2. Visitor Border Worker: for nationals of Belize and Guatemala, allows entry to the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo and Tabasco. It is valid for one year and includes the right to perform remunerated activities. However, this option requires having a job offer in advance.

3. Visitor for Humanitarian Reasons: valid for one year with the possibility of renewal and is granted in the following situations:

  • Be a victim or witness a crime committed in Mexico.
  • Be an unaccompanied migrant child
  • Be an applicant for political asylum, recognition of refugee status or complementary protection of the Mexican State, as long as their migration status is unresolved.

The condition of a visitor's stay may also be authorized for humanitarian reasons when there is a humanitarian cause that necessitates its admission or regularization in the country. The requesting person has permission to perform paid activities.

For migrants who want to reach the northern border of Mexico, they can only continue their journey as irregular migrants. For them, the way to regularize their immigration status is through a Visitor Visa for Humanitarian Reasons, request a waiting number to be interviewed in the US and qualify for the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). They can also cross the border irregularly and present themselves to migration authorities in the United States, and be returned to Mexico, also under the MPP category.

Those who return to Mexico through the MPP can wait for their appointment and request asylum in the United States or in Mexico, or return to their countries of origin.

Mexico has the potential to offer job opportunities to migrants in programs like Sembrando Vida or projects such as the creation of the free zone in the border strip, the Mayan Train or the construction of the Dos Bocas refinery in the state of Tabasco. For this, the visa options and conditions of regular stay for NTCA migrants must be strengthened and refined.

It is also essential that governments and organizations continue to strive to address the structural causes that force people to migrate, offer alternatives and continue to seek and support mechanisms that promote an orderly and safe migration.

 

Resources for migrants:

*IOM has resources to help people find out about regular migration options. The migrantinfo.iom.int website provides information on regular migration channels and opportunities for local learning, work and entrepreneurship development. On the other hand, the MigApp mobile application provides information on protection, migration procedures and services.