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Statement Ottawa, May 3, 2023 — The United States, Spain, and Canada are excited to announce a collaborative partnership aimed at deepening engagement in Latin America. This alliance will focus on fostering safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration while creating economic and social opportunities, and bolstering development options for the region’s people. By combining their collective efforts, the United States, Spain, and Canada will continue to promote and expand regular labor migration opportunities, including temporary labor mobility, while also supporting national governments in ethically recruiting, vetting, and employing eligible workers abroad. This partnership will emphasize worker protections, raise awareness of workers’ rights, and maintain international attention on this crucial region. The collaboration will enhance existing support for relevant national ministries, extend bilateral relationships with key stakeholders, and explore innovative initiatives such as Regional Processing Centers. The partnership is founded on mutual dedication to the region’s people, addressing labor shortages in key industries, empowering workers, and promoting safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration pathways.

This announcement also highlights the mutual interest in the region and emphasizes the shared understanding, approach, and commitments expressed in the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection and the United States’ “Call to Action” for Central America.

The United States, Spain, and Canada have set specific goals as part of this joint commitment and will collaborate with relevant regional governments to achieve these ambitious targets, supporting each other’s efforts along the way.

Additionally, the three countries will cooperate with multilateral institutions and organizations to explore ways to support labor migration pathways, including promoting fair recruitment and respect for worker rights.

Canada:

In 2022, Canada welcomed over 50,000 workers from Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean in the agriculture sector alone. With demand-driven temporary labor pathways, Canada will leverage existing programs like the Agri-Food Pilot to offer safe, regular alternatives to irregular migration. Furthermore, Canada will explore additional humanitarian pathways for employing more displaced persons from the Americas. The Canadian government is dedicated to expanding labor mobility from the region, particularly through promotional and communication activities that connect Canadian employers with new regional stakeholders. Capacity-building efforts will focus on addressing the root causes of irregular migration and promoting regular labor mobility pathways.

Spain:

Spain has established various regular migration pathways and signed migration-related agreements with several Latin American countries. In 2023, about 2,000 seasonal workers will come to Spain through these circular migration programs. Spain has also developed a program for high-skilled workers, welcoming 3,700 individuals from Colombia and Central American countries in 2022. As part of its joint commitment, Spain aims to increase the number of Latin American migrants over the next three years through labor market-linked pathways, enhancing existing operational capacities. This will include reinforcing current pathways, expanding circular migration programs, and introducing a new complementary pathway based on corporate sponsorship.

The United States:

In FY 2022, the United States granted 15,102 H-2B (non-agricultural) visas and 3,923 H-2A (agricultural) visas to workers from northern Central America, which is double the number issued in FY 2021. The United States has set aside thousands of H-2B visas for nationals of northern Central America for fiscal years 2021 through 2023 and provided significant support to the governments of these countries in identifying, vetting, and facilitating the recruitment of potential workers by U.S. employers, all while implementing stronger worker protections.

As part of its joint commitment, the United States will:

  1. Aim for a 25 percent increase in H-2 visa issuances from northern Central America by granting over 25,000 H-2 visas from this region in FY 2023 and strive to raise the FY23 numbers by at least 10 percent in FY24 (depending on employer demand).
  2. Allocate up to $65 million to implement a pilot grant program for agricultural employers to tackle labor instability and shortages by broadening the pool of H-2A workers from northern Central America and enhancing working conditions for both U.S. and H-2A farmworkers.

Additionally, the United States will offer technical and administrative support to interested destination countries and relevant ministries in partner sending countries to:

  1. Boost the ministries’ overall capacity, including the expansion of legal channels to more destination countries.
  2. Safeguard the rights of migrant workers.
  3. Increase the public visibility of labor migration opportunities, providing hope for alternatives to irregular movement.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Bahoz Dara Aziz Press Secretary Minister’s Office Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Bahoz.DaraAziz@cic.gc.ca

Media Relations Communications Branch Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada 613-952-1650 media@cic.gc.ca

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