Central and North American Countries Discuss Labour Migration Governance

Some of the key speakers at the RCM Labour Migration workshop in Mexico City. Photo: IOM /Cesia Chavarria

Mexico City – Member countries of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) this week (4-5/09) discussed the challenges posed by growing labour migration dynamics in the Americas, at the Regional Workshop on the Governance of Labour Migration: Towards Integrated and Planned Policies.

Hosted by the Government of Mexico and supported by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the meeting was attended by representatives of chancelleries, immigration authorities, ministries of labour, employer and union sectors and civil society.

Over 25 million nationals in the Americas live outside their country of origin; however, more than 80 per cent of migrants remain within the region. The region faces a triple challenge: the integration of new and diverse profiles of immigrant workers in its labour market, added to the traditional intra-regional movements; the lack or scarcity of qualified human resources; and the reintegration of their own returned nationals.

The event tackled these challenges, pushing for renewed, comprehensive and strategically planned migratory and labour policies at the national, bilateral and regional levels, based on an adequate analysis of national and regional labour markets. Such policies would have to be accompanied by adequate administrative systems to facilitate, regulate and manage the movements of migrant workers in an agile manner.

“Mexico recognizes the vital importance of migrants and what they represent for the economy and for the development of a country, both those of our nationals who migrate, as well as those who come to our country in search of job opportunities,” said Ambassador Miguel Díaz Reynoso, General Director for Latin America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico. “Because of this, Mexico has worked and cooperated to promote both bilateral and multilateral agreements that ensure absolute respect for the human rights of all people who migrate, as well as to encourage regular labour migration.”

“The involvement of all RCM countries in the appropriate planning of labour migration policies is paramount,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. “This means creating labour migration options that favour not only the attainment of a job but also the integration of migrants to the communities in the countries of destination and reintegration when they return to their country of origin.”

Francesco Carella, ILO Labour Migration Specialist said, “International conventions on migrant workers, such as ILO 97 and 143, help states to govern labour migration more effectively. But there are also other instruments that are not binding, and that can strengthen the formulation of labour migration policies, such as the Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration, the Principles of Fair Contracting and the Principles on Refugee Access to Labour Markets.”

The 60 participants highlighted the inter-institutional cooperation, which also involves the employer sector, trade unions, international organizations and civil society.

“This regional exchange is a space that has allowed us to know how the countries of the region collect information on labour migration flows, with a view to promoting good governance of labour migration and facilitate the development of comprehensive and inclusive policies,” said Pablo Rusconi Trigueros, Director of Immigration Department, Republic of El Salvador.

The meeting was co-organized by IOM, through the Mesoamerica Program, funded by the US of State Department and by ILO.

For more information, please contact Alexandra Bonnie, IOM San Jose, Tel:  +506 2212 5304, Email: