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Guatemala, Guatemala April 11, 2007

Further reflections on the Ministry of Labor training.

During the work shop, Global Workers learned that the Canadian guest worker program, administered as a pilot project by the International Organization on Migration also flagrantly violates Guatemalan law by failing to register the contracts and the recruiters. Although the Ministry has raised the issue with IOM, apparently IOM has refused to comply. If this is in fact true, it is wholly inexcusable. Under the structure of the US program, the US government is not a recruiter, it simply approves the private petitions and supplies the visas. The US companies are the ones that are in violation of Guatemala law. But the Canadian program is run differently. The Canadian government contracts IOM to be the recruiting entity and therefore it has the corresponding obligations to comply with Guatemalan law.

On another note, an additional plan by the Guatemalan government to reduce recruiter abuses in the US guest worker program is to become a recruiter itself. To that end, representatives from the Ministry of Labor traveled to the USA to identify potential employers. Although this could potentially reduce the exploitative process, history has shown that often when governments become directly involved it loses its perspective to objectively protect the workers.

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