RCM Member Countries initiate activities of the Working Group on Labour Migration with support from IOM and ILO

Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Other, Panama
19 April, 2021


It is estimated that international migrants currently represent about 3.6% of the world's population[1]. Nearly two-thirds of them are migrant workers, confirming the relevance of labour migration today. 


However, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all forms of human mobility, including migrant workers. This population has been one of the most affected by the global economic contraction and, at the same time, its mobility constitutes a key factor for economic reactivation.


In response to the above, the Government of Mexico, as Pro-Tempore Chair of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) promoted an exchange to support the design, implementation and monitoring of labour migration mechanisms within the framework of this multilateral forum. The exchange is the first part of the "Conversatory for the exchange of good practices in the recruitment and labour protection of migrants", proposed by the Pro-Tempore Presidency of the XXVI RCM in the plan of activities of the Working Group on Labour Migration. 


The meeting included various activities, such as presentations by experts, spaces for dialogue and presentations by representatives of the Member Countries in two virtual sessions, held on April 15 and 16, in order to visualize actions that contribute to economic recovery and at the same time address the challenges and enhance the benefits of this labour migration. 


In the opening session, Silvia Salgado Tirado, Director of Migration Regulation of the National Institute of Migration of Mexico, on behalf of the Pro-Tempore Presidency of the RCM, emphasized that "it is important to have this type of conversations, in which international agreements, programs and services on labour migration are made known, where the labour insertion of migrants is promoted, respecting their labour rights."


For her part, Michele Klein-Solomon, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, stressed that proper management of labour migration is a fundamental element of the set of public policy measures that can contribute to a more rapid and sustained economic recovery in the countries of the region, while guaranteeing the ethical and equitable recruitment of migrant workers and the protection of their rights. "In order for this management to be adequate, it is necessary to design, implement and follow up on the various mechanisms that facilitate labour migration throughout the region, in countries of origin, transit and destination," emphasized Ms. Klein-Solomon.


During the exchange, two important resources were presented to support Member Countries in improving their management of labour migration. First, the study on labour migration mechanisms prepared by IOM. This study provides an understanding of the regular channels available in the region for migrant workers and, at the same time, highlights the need to both adapt existing mechanisms and generate new processes that respond to changing migration dynamics and contribute to safe and orderly labour migration. 


Secondly, the Toolkit on Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements, developed jointly by the IOM and the ILO, was presented. This resource aims to provide practical advice for developing and implementing effective bilateral agreements to improve the governance of migratory flows, strengthen the protection of migrant workers and ensure that international recruitment responds to the needs of workers.


This activity was developed by IOM in the framework of the Western Hemisphere Program, funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the U.S. Department of State. For more information, please contact Fabio Jiménez at: jfjimenez@iom.int




[1] UNDESA (2020) International Migration 2020 Highlights, available at https://www.un.org/en/desa/international-migration-2020-highlights