The Government of Guatemala Reaffirms its Commitment to Regular, Orderly, and Safe Migration 

Guatemala commemorates International Migrants Day.

by Pamela Contreras

Guatemala City. By Brenda Larios, AGN. – On International Migrants Day, commemorated every December 18, the government of Guatemala underlined some of the programs promoted for the protection, safeguarding, and support of migrants. In addition, the government reaffirmed its commitment to orderly, safe, regular, and optional migration.

According to Mario Búcaro, Minister of Foreign Affairs, “We will always promote orderly, safe, regular and voluntary migration. That is why we promote temporary work visas.”

Furthermore, the ambassador recommended avoiding irregular migration, as this endangers the lives of people and their families.

Repatriated migrants

The Guatemalan Migration Institute -IGM- provides shelter and assistance to migrants through the Guatemalan Air Force -FAG- Reception Center for Returned Migrants.

The reception center provides health care, food, and specialized attention to unaccompanied minors and their families and offers them phone calls to communicate with their relatives.

The place has 14 units for government institutions and organizations to offer economical and educational reintegration services to repatriated migrants.

In addition, there are independent works and systems that improve the security and reception of returnees with security protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Unaccompanied Minors

Through the Social Welfare Secretariat -SBS-the government of Guatemala provides comprehensive care for unaccompanied migrant minors who enter the country, either by air or land.

Since 2020, this government entity has supported more than 17,900 unaccompanied minors upon entry into the country.

Upon arrival, children and adolescents receive interinstitutional care from the Solicitor General’s Office -PGN-, the Guatemalan Institute of Migration -IGM- and the SBS.

Minors are swabbed for COVID-19 as part of the sanitary measures promoted by the central government. Subsequently, they are transferred to a shelter to receive food, medical and psychological care, and a hygiene kit.

They are also given clothes if they need to change, which the minors will wear until they are handed over to their relatives in the country.

When the results of the tests are available, the PGN initiates its reunification protocol to take them home.

Temporary Visas

During President Giammattei’s administration, 3,532 Guatemalans have benefited from the Temporary Labor Program promoted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare -Mintrab-. 

From 2020 to the present, 3,532 Guatemalans have been placed in proper jobs. Of those, 169 have been rehired, said the head of Mintrab, Rafael Rodríguez, on November 7 at a press conference.

He reported that the beneficiaries had received temporary visas with the support of the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry. Most of them have also traveled to the United States and Canada. As a result, during this administration:

– In 2020, 119 people

– In 2021, 916 people

– Up until November of this year, 2,482 people have benefited. 

The Temporary Work Program was established in May 2021. The main objective is to give Guatemalan workers opportunities for decent employment, which is generated in the foreign job market. 

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