Mexico’s President Proposes Temporary Work Permits for Central American Immigrants

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the plan for public works projects in which the country’s “Central American brothers” will be able to work

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during one of his daily morning press conferences.
May 23, 2023 | 08:10 PM

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Bloomberg Línea — Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced he will present a program to provide temporary work visas to Central Americans.

Without specifying further details, the president said during his daily morning press conference on Monday that the temporary work visa program will be for jobs in the public works sector, “because we need a workforce for the projects, especially skilled labor. We need many ironworkers, welders, even engineers,” he said.

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López Obrador said that, due to the lack of specialized workers in the priority works of his government, among them the Maya Train project in the country’s southeast and the ‘inter-oceanic corridor’ across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to link the Gulf of Mexico with the Pacific Ocean, because many local people are leaving for the United States, and an option will be opened for Mexico’s “brothers from Central America”.

Although AMLO, as the president is known, did not discuss the process to be followed to apply for the temporary work visa, in the past his government has promoted similar programs for citizens of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, from where most Central American migrants attempting to cross Mexico to reach the US border arrive.


Earlier this year, Mexico granted 10,000 temporary work visas to Guatemalan day laborers, of which 5,000 are in Jalisco and the rest in the states of Michoacán and Guanajuato. This measure arose to address the labor shortage in the countryside, said the government.

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AMLO assured that the hiring of foreign labor is possible, “thanks to the fact that there is money to fund it due to the fact that corruption has not been allowed and all budgets are spent on public works”.

In 2022, Mexico’s immigration authorities deported more than 106,827 immigrants that had entered the country from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, that is, 13% more compared to 2021 (96,511), according to data from Central American government agencies, together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In addition, last year, 31,074 Hondurans requested political asylum in Mexico, far more than any other nationality, revealed the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid (COMAR), and from January to April of this year, there have already been more than 10,000 requests for asylum from Honduran citizens.

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