Training to Guatemala overnment agencies: “U.S temporary work visas system: process, legal framework; and international recruitment”
In a unprecedented event, Global Workers convened the Guatemalan Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a one-day training to their personnel on “U.S temporary work visas system: process, legal framework; and international recruitment.”
On Cathleen’s last day in Guatemala City she met with a representative of the Canadian embassy. Working with the Canadian embassy to improve their temporary foreign worker program has been a continuous struggle. They seem to intentionally distance themselves from the program so they can in no way be responsible for any violations. Even asking for basic data on the numbers of workers from the region seemed to be considered information that could not be shared. They have created walls around the program that virtually guarantees abuses will only flourish.
Capitalizing on the presence of the Defenders for the Canadian training, we held a mid-year meeting to follow-up on the planning from the April 2012 forum. Various Defenders reported on meetings they had attended as representatives of the Defender Network, including one on regional strategic litigation, and the UN process on women Cairo+20. Others talked about cases. We also discussed projects in development, such as a needs assessment on the Mexico and Guatemala border about Guatemala farmworkers in Mexico. We agreed that the Defender Network would participate in the “Grupo Articulador”, a group of advocates pushing the Guatemalan government to form a more coherent migration policy.
Accompanied by Miriam Ramirez of Defender G&C Consultores, Cathleen met with the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor. Three temporary foreign worker programs recruit Guatemalans: Canada, USA, and Mexico. While the Mexico program is perhaps the most regulated on paper - there is an agreement between governments - it seems that the highest number of abuses occur in this program. The Canada program has good protections but the discriminatory hiring practices are rampant and the Canadian government distances itself to an alarming degree of the problems in the sending countries. The USA program is the most clandestine of all, many governments in the region do not even realize that the USA recruits at all, when the program has been operating for more than twenty years.
Executive Director, Cathleen Caron, arrived in Guatemala City for the week primarily for two events: training on the Canadian foreign temporary work program and a mid-year meeting of the Guatemala Defender Network.
The mission of the Global Workers Justice Alliance is to combat worker exploitation by promoting portable justice for transnational migrants through a cross-border network of worker advocates and resources.
Global Workers coined the term portable justice to describe the right and ability of transnational migrant workers to access justice in the countries of employment even after they have departed for their home countries.