This policy brief argues that the challenge to effective labour market integration of migrants in Mexico is connected to three practical steps: implementing a joint working mechanism to allow stakeholders to exchange experiences and knowledge to further integration and strengthen labour inclusion processes; bringing together the local units for migrant support (Direcciones de Atención al Migrante), relevant public institutions, civil society, and the private sector to create a solid network of services that migrants can access; and developing a regional strategy to give migrants more comprehensive access to services. Effective coordination and greater clarity regarding regularization process, however, is unlikely to be achieved if labour market policies are intended as a short-term response to the US effectively subcontracting asylum responsibilities to Mexico.
The above recommendations are based on 60 semi-structured interviews with irregular migrants, civil society, local authorities and employers in Mexico and three focus groups that were conducted with research participants in Mexico City, Tapachula and Tijuana. This was complemented with field observations and the collection of documentary data over an 18-month period ending in October 2019. The argument made here also builds on an analysis of recent reports and surveys carried out mostly in Mexico on the condition of people on the move.