Coalition of 46 Companies to Hire Migrants and Refugees in Mexico

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The refugee population in Mexico has grown by nearly 300% in recent years, but they continue to face obstacles in obtaining dignified employment due to unfamiliarity with the procedures required by companies and the time needed for document validation.

A group of 46 large companies operating in the country will hire migrants and refugees. This initiative is led by the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a global network of companies that promotes the labor integration of this population.

“We see this as the future of the Mexican economy,” says Ileana Cruz, Associate Director for the Americas at Tent. Over the past few years, Mexico has transitioned from being solely a country of origin and transit for migrants to also becoming a destination for thousands of people seeking refuge and job opportunities.

It’s time to change our perspective and stop viewing this reality solely as a crisis or a border issue, says Ileana Cruz. “This goes much further. Many people have so much to contribute to this country; we just need to give them an opportunity to do so.”

According to the Migration Policy Unit, in 2018, the Mexican government granted refugee status to 4,018 people from different countries. Most come from Latin America and the Caribbean, but there are also refugees from Asia, Africa, and Europe. In 2023, this benefit was extended to 15,743 people—an increase of nearly 300%.

Other figures reflecting migration growth include irregular migrant apprehensions: in 2018, authorities detained 131,445 individuals, while in 2023, the number rose to 782,176—an increase of almost 500%.

“Mexico has always been a country that receives migrants; sometimes we forget that” points out Ileana Cruz. “Certainly, in recent years, there has been a shift in proportion and demographics. We now see a significant number coming from Venezuela,” as well as from Central America, and to a lesser extent, from China, Russia, Ukraine, and Afghanistan.

The diversity of professional profiles is vast, she adds. “(At Tent), we don’t view this trend as a challenge; it’s an opportunity for the Mexican economy to grow. Mexico is a global economy, and everyone wants to be here.” However, if we can integrate these individuals while respecting their human rights, the growth will be sustainable.

Recruitment, Training, and More

Tent Mexico is the first coalition of companies that this network has implemented in Latin America. Similar coalitions exist in Canada, France, Spain, and the United States.

Through Tent Mexico, 46 major companies have committed to hiring migrants and refugees on a large scale and providing support for their employability in Mexico.

The coalition includes companies such as Accenture, Amazon, Hilton, Microsoft, Pfizer, SAP, Walmart, and many others. These companies will announce job vacancies and other employment opportunities. Recruitment efforts will take place at job fairs and through government employment portals.

Tent Partnership for Refugees assists and will continue to assist companies in ensuring that their recruitment, hiring, and training processes consider the perspectives of refugees and migrants.

Refugees are individuals who left their country due to “persecution, conflict, widespread violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disrupted public order and, consequently, require international protection,” according to the United Nations.

Tent was founded in 2016 in the United States, and in Mexico, they have been working with large companies like Femsa for several years to help them implement projects that integrate refugees. Now, they officially launch their Mexico network, says Ileana Cruz.

During their time in Mexico, they have observed that companies are gradually understanding their role in integrating this population. By adding refugees to their workforce, they help shift the perception from victims to potential employees or clients—recognizing their power through the creation of opportunities.

To achieve this alliance, Tent has collaborated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), and the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (Comar), among other institutions.

Challenges in Hiring

One of the main obstacles to the labor integration of refugees and migrants is the lack of awareness among companies and the individuals themselves regarding their right to work.

Tent provides training to Human Resources teams on the straightforward process they need to follow with the National Institute of Migration (INM) to hire foreign individuals. They also inform companies about the types of profiles they can find among refugees and migrants.

According to the Mexican Employers’ Confederation (Coparmex) and the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (Imco), there were nearly 1.6 million unfilled job vacancies across companies of all sizes in 2023. Many of these positions could be filled by refugees and migrants.

Another significant obstacle is documentation. Processing times within Mexican

Source: El Financiero