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Workshop on Temporary Migrant Workers Programs

 

 

28

2.  Improving relevant information systems (data bases) is particularly important in 

improving policy-making and decision-making relating to labor migration. 

3.  Another priority need detected by IOM in some countries of origin and destination is the 

lack of labor market studies to support the development of labor migration management 

strategies. 

4.  IOM’s experience in managing projects to recruit migrant workers shows the importance 

of maintaining and improving the so-called “support services” before departure, during 

employment abroad, and upon the return to the country of origin. Some services are 

related to information: registration, selection, cultural orientation, talks on protection 

(rights and duties while abroad), medical examinations, assistance with visas and travel 

documents, reception in the country of destination, preparation for the return, and 

reintegration support. 

5.  Significant efforts are required both in countries of origin and destination to develop and 

finance incentive programs for the return and reintegration of temporary migrant workers 

in their countries of origin. 

Finally, an effective management of temporary labor migration requires finding more 

sustainable solutions, considering demographic changes and labor market trends, in order to make the 

best possible use of the opportunities for economic, social, and human development provided by labor 

migration and, at the same time, achieve a balance between the interests of all involved parties. 

3. Notes on the Characteristics of the Migrant Work  

Force in the Americas 

Jorge Martínez Pizarro

*

 

This paper describes the background of participation and labor insertion of migrants in the Americas, 

based on censuses and home surveys. First, the global context of migrant worker flows is described, 

identifying key destinations within the region. A second section analyzes the type of labor insertion 

and main occupational sectors of Latin American and Caribbean migrants in the sub-regions of Latin 

America and the Caribbean, United States and Canada. The third section addresses the topic of 

migration of qualified workers in the Americas and, finally, labor participation of female migrants in 

household work is analyzed in depth. 

A. Context of Labor Migration in the Americas 

In general, it can be stated that migration continues to be a process of persons moving from nations 

with less opportunities to other, usually higher income nations. The following two traditional 

migration patterns can be observed in the Americas: migration of workers from Latin America and 

the Caribbean to the United States and Canada, and population exchange between South American 

and Caribbean countries. In addition, in recent years Spain has become the second most important 

destination country for migrants leaving Latin America and the Caribbean, which suggests a third 

emerging pattern. 

The United States has consolidated as the primary country of destination for regional 

migration, receiving close to 20.5 million Latin American and Caribbean nationals in 2007. This 

number accounts for more than half of the total number of immigrants, excluding their descendants. 

Several studies carried out by CELADE point out that a combination of labor demand and supply of 

low-cost or highly qualified labor converge in this flow. However, North-South economic inequalities 

are not the only reason for this migration movement – the development of ethnic and labor enclaves of 

immigrants from specific Latin American and Caribbean territories is another reason. Even so, we can 

                                                        

*

   With collaboration from Verónica Cano and Magdalena Soffia, CELADE-CEPAL. 



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