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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Promising Alternatives to Irregular Migration: Expanding Temporary Worker Programs in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica

Posted by Migration Policy Institute on July 18th, 2022

Violence, insecurity, and economic pressures compel tens of thousands of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras every year to seek better livelihoods and opportunities outside their countries of origin. Some may be eligible for humanitarian protection under the limited asylum systems in the region, but most cannot access existing legal migration pathways. Expanding temporary worker programs therefore can offer an important means to convert some irregular flows into legal ones.

While expanding U.S. temporary employment programs, such as H-2 seasonal visas, is central to establishing regional alternatives to irregular migration and filling domestic labor shortages, it is insufficient without the simultaneous expansion of similar programs in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

As part of a Migration Policy Institute project, Building a Regional Migration System, this webcast presents research findings from a report on temporary employment pathways for Central American migrants in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Speakers offer an analysis of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in Canada, the Border Worker Visa in Mexico, and Costa Rica’s Binational Agreement with Nicaragua, providing recommendations to improve these pathways and promote safe, orderly, and regular migration.

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