Temporary worker programs in Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica: promising avenues for managing Central American migration? – World

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The arrival of large numbers of Central Americans at the US-Mexico border in recent years and the complex motivations driving them to leave their country have once again demonstrated the need for comprehensive strategies to manage migration in the region. The lion’s share of these migrants come from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and poverty, food insecurity and limited livelihoods are among the forces pushing many to migrate. Central Americans have access to few legal migration routes, but expanding them could promote safer legal movement in the region and potentially reduce border pressures.

Temporary worker programs are a promising alternative to some irregular migration. The circularity built into these programs is often attractive both to destination countries looking for a reliable but non-permanent pool of labor to fill shortages in key industries, and to participating workers who want to earn. money abroad while remaining rooted in their home communities.

The United States is the intended destination for many Central Americans, and previous MPI research has described ways to better take advantage of U.S. temporary work programs, but similar opportunities also exist in other countries. This report examines how Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica could use their employment-based visa programs to expand alternatives to irregular migration for Central Americans and, at the same time, meet pressing labor needs. work. It examines the challenges these programs have faced to date, including in recruitment processes and worker protections, which should be addressed.

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