LaMP Flights: Opening More Opportunities for Workers from Guatemala

AUTHORS: MELISSA SAUCEDO, KIM GERONIMO

FAVORITE QUOTE: 

“Collaboration and solidarity among workers are important for the success of the [H2A] program. However, the higher the debt a worker takes on to migrate, the more likely they are to abscond.” – AGUND member and aspiring H2A visa applicant  

“What we are looking for is a legal and equal opportunity for work.” – female AGUND member and aspiring H2A visa applicant   

MAIN TAKEAWAY: 

Guatemala has a lot of potential to utilize the U.S. H2A agricultural seasonal worker program successfully (in terms of scale and quality). There is unprecedented political will and industry interest to ensure it grows exponentially and that workers are recruited responsibly. Guatemala has an abundance of hard-working people waiting for an opportunity to migrate for work. It is also home to several established conscientious recruiters serving seasonal worker schemes in Canada that could support the expansion of the H2A program in Guatemala.  

LaMP TEAM NEXT STEPS: 

The LaMP team met with various stakeholders, including government, local CSOs, migrant workers, recruiters, international NGOs, and grass-roots organizations, in order to better understand the impact potential of the growing the interest in the H2A program in Guatemala, as well as the recruitment process, constraints and opportunities of U.S. seasonal worker schemes.  

During these meetings LaMP discussed concrete concerns and strategies to increase employer demand, improve institutional collaboration, and reduce the risk of exploitation for workers who wish to participate in the programs.  

The LaMP team is now preparing a diagnostic of responsible recruitment market potential in Guatemala and  follow-up consultations with recruiters, who expressed interest in continued collaboration. To stay tuned for more details, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter here and follow us on twitter! 

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