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Microsoft Word crm-ptmt el Salvador 2009[final]. doc

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Regional Conference on Migration

 

 

47

2. Temporary Migrant Workers Programs “South-North”.  

Experience in El Salvador 

Luis Ernesto Montes Brito 

In El Salvador, as in the other RCM member countries and worldwide, migration is a cross-cutting 

theme that affects all aspects of the social, economic, and political reality of society. This can be 

mainly observed in terms of the health care and education required by groups of migrant workers in 

each country, which they cannot – and should not – be denied. 

The groups of migrant workers become vectors for development, improve productivity in the 

country of destination, and pay taxes. In addition, they stimulate the economy in countries of origin 

through remittances. 

Highly qualified migrant workers help increase the qualification levels of local labor through 

transfer of knowledge and through their actual work. 

El Salvador experiences migration in two ways: as a – traditionally accepted – country of 

origin, and since 2001, when the Bimonetary Law came into effect allowing the US dollar to circulate 

as an additional currency at a national level, El Salvador is also perceived as a country of destination. 

 

DIAGRAM 2 

 

A. Salvadoran Program for Temporary Workers Abroad (PROSALTEX) 

The Vice-Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Salvadorans Abroad is the State institution in charge of 

developing the foreign policy component in order to integrate Salvadorans worldwide with their 

country of origin. The strategic lines of action include migration stability and family 

reunification. The Salvadoran Program for Temporary Workers Abroad (PROSALTEX) is 

included under this line of action. 

PROSALTEX was established based on the global labor market reality, with the purpose of 

seeking orderly, safe, and favorable alternatives for Salvadoran labor to work abroad. Thus, efforts 

are being made to increase the qualification levels of labor in the country and to invest in and 

promote the development of communities of origin. PROSALTEX was established as a joint 

interinstitutional program of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (MINTRAB), the Ministry of 

Foreign Affairs (MRREE), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as executing 


Workshop on Temporary Migrant Workers Programs

 

 

48

institutions of the program, and a series of organizations providing support in terms of training, 

psychological tests, police clearance documents, identity and nationality documents, etc. 

 

GRAPH 10 

EL SALVADOR: DISTRIBUTION OF MIGRANT WORKERS HIRED  

THROUGH THE PROSALTEX PROGRAM, ACCORDING TO FIELDS  

(In percentages) 

Firework industry 

0,52

Nurses 1,46

Septic Cleaning 0,31

Hotel industry 1,56

Meat industry 94,28

Cofee industry 1,56

Milk industry 0,31

 

Today, 961 Salvadoran workers are employed in Canada and Spain. The first workers were 

hired in Canada in 2002 and in Spain in 2007. 

Salvadorans are working in the following sectors: the meat industry, hotels, coffee shops, 

dairy farms, pyrotechnic industry, nursing sector, and cleaning of tanks for chemical products. 

Regarding hiring by gender, due to the profiles and requirements established by the 

contracting enterprises a significant disparity exists between men and women: 81% male workers and 

19% female workers are working abroad. However, a more specific analysis of the service sector 

shows that of the Salvadorans employed in this sector, 66% are male and 34% are female. 

Capacity building has undoubtedly been one of the positive impacts of PROSALTEX in El 

Salvador, since a special unit was established within the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to 

specifically address this topic: the Unit for Temporary Work Abroad (Unidad de Trabajos Temporales 

en el Exterior – UTTE). At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Directorate of Community Affairs 

(ascribed to the General Directorate for Communities Abroad of the Vice-Ministry for Salvadorans 

Abroad) was designated to follow up on and monitor all phases of the process. Finally, IOM/El 

Salvador appointed a Permanent Head of Mission and strengthened the office through additional 

human resources. 

The process of PROSALTEX has been divided into three phases, described below: 

1.  Labor Intelligence: Searching for opportunities and employment offers through 

coordinated efforts of diplomatic and consular representatives from El Salvador and 

central government institutions. 

2.  Labor Mediation: A process of recruiting, pre-selection, selection, and hiring based 

on an established profile provided by the enterprise that is interested in hiring 

Salvadoran labor. 

3.  Labor Integration: A process where workers begin to work in the hiring enterprise. 

Assistance and services are provided by Mobile Consulates to meet the needs of workers 

in their new country of residence. 



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