Mexico is a significant transit and destination country for migrants, both from Central America and from other parts of the world. In recent years, Mexico has faced an influx of migrants from countries such as Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, often seeking to reach the United States. These migration flows have prompted the Mexican government to work on shaping its immigration policy to address the challenges and opportunities associated with migration flows, implementing various policies and measures to manage the situation. The government is committed to respecting the human rights of migrants and providing them with protection, while also co-operating with the countries of origin and transit to address the root causes of migration.
In terms of welcoming immigration, Mexico has historically been a country that has received migrants from different parts of the world, and for many different purposes. One such purpose is the work and economic opportunities that Mexico provides; it is an excellent country for corporate migration, offering numerous advantages and opportunities for businesses looking to expand or relocate. Key reasons why Mexico is an attractive destination for corporate migration include the following.
While Mexico presents numerous opportunities for corporate migration, it is essential for businesses to conduct thorough research, seek expert advice and comply with legal requirements and regulations before making any decisions.
No project to reform the Migration Law or significant modifications to the immigration policies in Mexico have been presented. Although the issue of migration has been a subject of discussion and debate in the country, no legal or political changes that substantially alter the existing regulatory framework have been implemented to date. The current Migration Law establishes the guidelines and procedures for the entry, stay and departure of foreigners in Mexico, as well as the rights and obligations of both migrants and the authorities responsible for their control. However, it is important to note that immigration policy is dynamic and subject to change, so proposals for reform or adjustments to the existing policies could emerge in the future.
The current existing options for sponsor-based employment visas are as follows.
There are two possible ways to come to Mexico and work or invest without sponsorship from a Mexican company.
When visitors travel to Mexico, they are allowed to participate in recreational and business activities, such as sightseeing, attending meetings or conferences, or exploring potential business opportunities. However, it is crucial to understand that working or engaging in any paid activities is strictly prohibited for visitors without the appropriate visa; engaging in remunerated work, even temporarily, is considered a violation of Mexican immigration laws and regulations. This means that visitors are not allowed to accept a job, provide services in exchange for payment, or perform any other income-generating activities.
If a visitor is caught working or undertaking any remunerated activities without the necessary visa, they will face sanctions and penalties, which are intended to enforce compliance with Mexican immigration laws. The specific penalties and sanctions for unauthorised work may vary depending on the circumstances and the discretion of immigration authorities. Typically, the visitor will be required to pay a penalty fee, which serves as a financial consequence for their violation. The amount of the penalty fee can vary, and is determined by the immigration authorities based on the severity of the offence.
To avoid any legal issues or penalties, it is essential for visitors to Mexico to adhere to the purpose of their visit, whether that is tourism or business-related activities that do not involve paid work. If someone intends to work in Mexico or engage in any remunerated activities, they should comply with the appropriate visa requirements and obtain the necessary permits beforehand, to ensure compliance with Mexican immigration laws.
In 2021, Mexico recognised and regulated remote work through amendments to the Federal Labour Law. This means that remote work is now officially acknowledged and governed by labour regulations in the country.
However, it is important to note that foreign individuals seeking to work in Mexico and obtain a temporary resident card must fulfil certain requirements, including that they must intend to live in Mexico for a period exceeding 180 days. This requirement ensures that individuals genuinely plan to establish their temporary residence in Mexico rather than just briefly visiting for work purposes.
It is crucial to comply with these regulations to ensure that foreign individuals seeking temporary residence and remote work opportunities in Mexico are operating in accordance with the country's immigration policies.
In Mexico, language proficiency is not a prerequisite for obtaining a visa, including work permit visas. The Mexican government does not require applicants to demonstrate any specific language skills as part of the visa application process for a tourist visa, student visa, work permit visa or any other type of visa. However, it is recommended that individuals attend the consular interview in a country where they can duly communicate with the consular officer, to facilitate correct and proper communication that allows the foreign person to express the real reasons why they are applying for such a visa.
It is also important to note that, while language skills may not be a requirement for obtaining a visa, they can still play a significant role in the foreign person's overall experience in Mexico. Depending on the purpose of the visit and the nature of the work, having a basic understanding of Spanish can be beneficial for daily interactions, navigating the local environment and engaging with the local community. It can also enhance employment prospects and cultural integration.
Mexico does not currently require a medical certificate or vaccination card to allow people to enter the country.
In the application process for a work permit visa, there are no specific minimum thresholds or requirements regarding qualifications to occupy the job. However, it is important to note that, during the interview phase, a consular officer may request the foreign applicant to provide evidence of their expertise in the relevant field. This can include educational qualifications such as a bachelor's degree, as well as supporting documents like a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume.
A bachelor's degree is often considered a standard qualification that demonstrates a certain level of proficiency and foundational knowledge in a particular subject. However, it is worth noting that the specific requirements may vary depending on the country where the interview takes place. In addition to the degree, a CV or resume is a comprehensive document that outlines an individual's educational background, work experience, skills and achievements. It provides a detailed overview of the applicant's professional history, including any relevant certifications, research projects, publications or presentations they may have undertaken.
By evaluating these documents and conducting an interview, the consular officer can assess the applicant's level of knowledge, skills and experience in their chosen field and gain a better understanding of the applicant's suitability for the work permit visa. This helps to maintain the integrity of the work permit visa process and ensures that foreign workers are suitable for the job opportunities they are seeking.
It is important for applicants to prepare and present their educational credentials and professional achievements effectively during the interview process. This includes providing accurate and updated information, organising supporting documents neatly, and being able to articulate their expertise and relevant experience in a clear and concise manner. Once again, the interview has no specific requirements in terms of expertise or level of education, but they may help to sustain an application.
When it was initially published in 1970, the Federal Labour Law contained an article stipulating that employers must hire 90% Mexicans and up to 10% foreign employees. However, the social, political and business landscape in Mexico has changed significantly since then, leading to a shift in perspective regarding labour practices and the inclusion of foreign workers.
The Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social (Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare) is the competent authority in labour matters, and no longer enforces this specific article. This change in approach is a result of Mexico's commitment to various international agreements that uphold human rights and aim to eliminate any form of discrimination, including racism. Mexico has taken significant steps to promote diversity, inclusivity and non-discrimination in its labour practices. While some provisions that impose certain restrictions on the hiring of foreign workers may still exist, these limitations are not strictly enforced and are not considered to be in effect under the current legal framework.
The emphasis now lies on creating a fair and competitive job market where individuals are evaluated based on their qualifications, skills and experience rather than their nationality. Employers have the freedom to hire the most suitable candidates for their organisations without being subject to strict quotas or limitations regarding the nationality of their workforce.
The Immigration Law stipulates that the immigration authority must resolve any request related to an immigration process, including work permit visa processes, within 20 business days. However, the Instituto Nacional de Migración (National Immigration Institute) is currently demonstrating exceptional efficiency by resolving these processes within a much shorter timeframe, usually within one to five business days.
This significant reduction in processing time highlights the institute's commitment to expediting immigration procedures and streamlining the overall immigration system. By addressing requests in such a prompt manner, the Instituto Nacional de Migración not only ensures the swift resolution of immigration processes but also enables individuals to commence their intended activities, such as work, study or other endeavours, without unnecessary delays.
The Instituto Nacional de Migración's ability to handle immigration processes swiftly could be attributed to various factors, including improved internal processes, increased resources or enhanced technological systems. Whatever the cause, this positive development is a significant step towards a more efficient and accommodating immigration system.
When a work permit visa request is submitted to the immigration authority in Mexico, it means that a foreign person is seeking permission to work in Mexico legally. In this context, the requirement states that the foreign person must be outside of Mexico when the request is submitted.
The rationale behind this requirement is that the work permit visa is intended for individuals who are not currently residing in Mexico. By requiring the applicant to be outside of Mexico during the submission of the request, it ensures that the proper immigration procedures are followed and that the person's status in the country is regulated from the beginning. It also allows the immigration authorities to properly process the application, verify the necessary documentation, conduct background checks and determine whether the applicant meets the requirements for a work permit visa. It further ensures that the immigration authorities have control over the entry and stay of foreign workers in Mexico.
Once the work permit visa is granted, the foreign person can then enter Mexico legally and begin their employment.
In Mexico, the process of obtaining a work permit visa cannot be expedited because the legislation does not contemplate or provide an option to do so. The visa application process in Mexico is governed by specific laws, regulations and administrative procedures established by the Mexican government.
When applying for a work permit visa in Mexico, applicants are required to follow the prescribed steps and meet the necessary requirements outlined by the National Institute of Migration or the Mexican consulate or embassy in their home country. These requirements typically include submitting the required documents, such as a job offer letter from a Mexican employer, proof of educational qualifications, financial statements and other supporting documents.
Once the application is submitted, the National Institute of Migration or the Mexican consulate or embassy will review the application and assess the eligibility of the applicant based on the established criteria. The processing time for a work permit visa can vary, depending on factors such as the workload of the immigration authorities and the completeness of the application.
While some countries may offer expedited processing options for certain visa categories, such as paying an additional fee for faster processing, this is not the case for work permit visas in Mexico. It is important that individuals planning to work in Mexico allow sufficient time for the visa application process and ensure that they meet all the requirements specified by the Mexican authorities.
When a foreign person receives a visa stamp in their passport, it grants them permission to travel to Mexico. Upon arrival at the point of entry in Mexico, they must present their passport with the visa stamp to the immigration officer, who can then verify the purpose of the person's entry into Mexico.
Once the immigration officer has confirmed the information and approved the entry, they will instruct the foreign person to generate an electronic document called the Forma Migratoria Múltiple Digital (Digital Multiple Migratory Form or FMMD), which serves as a temporary authorisation to stay in Mexico and is valid for 30 calendar days. During those 30 calendar days, the foreign person must begin the process of obtaining a temporary resident card, which involves contacting the National Institute of Migration and submitting the required documentation. The temporary resident card serves as the official identification for the foreign person while they are in Mexico.
If the foreign person fails to initiate the process of obtaining a temporary resident card within the 30 calendar days, they will not be able to obtain the card and will have to leave Mexico. In such a case, they would need to start the entire visa application process again if they wish to return to Mexico in the future.
The work permit visa process in Mexico involves the following three different governmental fees that need to be covered.
The fee amounts mentioned here are approximate values based on the conversion rates provided. The exact fee amounts may vary depending on the current exchange rates and any updates in the Mexican government's fee structure. They are updated every year.
When applying for a visa in Mexico, there are typically three different fees that need to be paid throughout the entire process for an applicant to complete their relocation to Mexico. These fees are associated with different stages of the visa application process. See 5.1 Typical Cost of a Sponsored Employment for more details.
Enforcement actions taken by authorities in Mexico regarding immigration can vary depending on the specific circumstances and the applicable immigration laws. Consequences for individuals or sponsor companies breaching the immigration law include the following.
The specific enforcement actions taken can depend on the discretion of the Mexican immigration authorities and the severity of the violation.
In Mexico, companies are required to obtain a document called Constancia de Inscripción de Empleador (Employer Registration Certificate) from the National Institute of Migration in order to extend work permit visa offers and hire foreign personnel. This certificate serves as proof that the company is registered as an employer and has met the necessary requirements.
The Constancia de Inscripción de Empleador is valid for one year, and it needs to be updated annually by submitting proof of payment of federal taxes for that year. It is important for companies to keep this certificate updated to ensure they can continue to process work permit visas for foreign employees and keep them on the company's payroll.
If a company fails to update the Constancia de Inscripción de Empleador on time, the National Institute of Migration will “freeze” the certificate, which means that the company will not be able to initiate new work permit visa processes or keep their foreign personnel on the payroll. Essentially, it puts a hold on any activities related to employing foreign workers.
While there is no direct financial penalty imposed on the company for not updating the certificate, it is crucial for the company to fulfil this obligation in a timely manner if they wish to retain their foreign personnel. Failing to do so can lead to complications and disruptions in their ability to hire and maintain a workforce consisting of foreign employees.
In Mexico, the concept of “Right to Work” refers to the constitutional right of individuals to freely choose their employment and engage in any lawful occupation of their choice. Unlike some countries where employers are required to verify an individual's right to work before hiring them, Mexico does not have a specific legal requirement for employers to check their employees' right to work. However, employers in Mexico still need to comply with other labour laws and regulations governing various aspects of the employment relationship, including minimum wage, working hours, social security contributions and benefits.
In Mexico, employers are generally required to register their employees with the Mexican Social Security Institute and make corresponding social security contributions on their behalf. This registration process helps to ensure that employees are entitled to social security benefits, such as healthcare and retirement benefits.
Employers are also required to have a written employment contract with their employees, specifying the terms and conditions of the employment relationship, and including details such as job title, salary, working hours and any other relevant provisions. It is crucial for both parties to have a clear understanding of their rights and obligations.
While there may not be a specific requirement to check the right to work, employers in Mexico should still exercise due diligence when hiring employees, by verifying the educational background, employment history and other qualifications of the candidates to ensure they are suitable for the position.
Also, the lack of a specific requirement to check the right to work does not absolve employers from potential legal consequences if they knowingly hire individuals who are not authorised to work in Mexico. Employers should be cautious and avoid hiring individuals without proper documentation, as it could lead to penalties and legal issues in case of non-compliance with immigration laws.
Historically, Mexico has recognised the following family relationships for the Dependant visa category:
The parents can request or extend a visa for family unit purposes to their other children, in order to keep the family unit of the main applicant together.
In Mexico, when a dependant receives a family unit visa, they are not automatically entitled to work. However, they have the option to apply for a work permit as an independent worker or to work for a company. The dependant's legal status in Mexico is always tied to the main applicant.
If the main applicant, who is typically the primary visa holder, loses their legal status in Mexico for any reason, such as the expiration of their visa or violation of immigration regulations, it will have consequences for the dependent as well. Since the dependant's status is dependent on the main applicant, any changes or issues affecting the main applicant will directly impact the dependant's legal standing.
If the main applicant's legal condition in Mexico is compromised, both the main applicant and the dependant may face the risk of losing their legal status, including the right to work. It is essential for both parties to maintain compliance with Mexican immigration regulations in order to avoid any negative consequences.
Therefore, it is crucial for the dependent to keep track of the main applicant's immigration status and ensure that they maintain their own legal status as well.
Mexico’s Immigration Environment
Mexico is undoubtedly one of the most visited countries in the world, attracting millions of tourists each year. It has also become a sought-after place for foreigners looking to live, work and settle down. There are several compelling reasons why Mexico is an attractive option for individuals seeking a new life.
Mexico has a growing economy and is an attractive destination for international businesses. This translates into a wide array of job opportunities, particularly in sectors such as technology, manufacturing and tourism. Expats with specialised skills and expertise can find rewarding careers in Mexico.
Mexico's appeal as a destination for living, working and settling down is rooted in its rich culture, natural beauty, affordable cost of living, job opportunities, favourable climate, healthcare system, welcoming people, proximity to the United States, historical sites and mouthwatering cuisine. These factors combine to make Mexico an enticing option for foreigners seeking a new and fulfilling life experience.
Mexico's open immigration policy
Mexico has long been known for its open immigration policy, which aims to promote legal migration and create a welcoming environment for individuals from various countries. The Mexican government has made significant efforts to streamline and improve its immigration system, striking a balance between facilitating the entry of foreign nationals and maintaining security and compliance with immigration laws.
Promoting legal migration
Mexico recognises the importance of legal migration and strives to provide opportunities for individuals seeking to enter the country through the proper channels. The government encourages prospective migrants to follow the established procedures and obtain the necessary documentation, such as visas and permits, to ensure their entry into Mexico is lawful.
Welcoming individuals from various countries
Mexico's open immigration policy embraces individuals from diverse nationalities, cultures and backgrounds. It aims to create an inclusive society that celebrates the contributions of immigrants and fosters social integration. By welcoming individuals from various countries, Mexico benefits from the rich tapestry of experiences, skills and perspectives they bring, enhancing its cultural diversity and promoting economic growth.
Streamlined immigration system
Recognising the importance of an efficient immigration system, the Mexican government has implemented measures to streamline the entry process for foreign nationals. This includes improving visa application procedures, reducing processing times and enhancing the accessibility of immigration services. By reducing bureaucratic hurdles, Mexico seeks to facilitate the entry of legal migrants and ensure a more straightforward and user-friendly experience.
Ensuring security and compliance
While Mexico maintains an open immigration policy, it also prioritises national security and compliance with immigration laws. The government has implemented stringent measures to screen individuals entering the country, aiming to identify and prevent the entry of those who may pose a threat to public safety. These security measures are crucial for maintaining law and order while upholding the rights and safety of both citizens and migrants.
The Mexican government has undertaken several initiatives to further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its immigration system.
Mexico's open immigration policy reflects its commitment to promoting legal migration and embracing individuals from various countries. By focusing on a streamlined and efficient immigration system, Mexico aims to facilitate the entry of foreign nationals while ensuring security and compliance with immigration laws. Through initiatives that enhance efficiency, collaboration and education, Mexico strives to create an inclusive society that values the contributions of migrants while safeguarding the interests of its citizens.
The Mexican government has taken significant steps to address border security concerns and improve the regulation of people's movement across its borders. These efforts have been focused on the implementation of comprehensive strategies, technological advancements and infrastructure improvements, and can be summed up in five main points.
Overall, Mexico's approach to border management combines the use of technology, infrastructure improvements and cross-border co-operation to enhance security, regulate movement and mitigate potential risks. These measures aim to strike a balance between facilitating legitimate travel and trade while ensuring the safety and well-being of the country and its citizens.
Strengthening refugee and asylum policies in Mexico
Mexico has recognised the importance of providing protection to individuals who are forced to flee their countries due to persecution, violence and other threats. In recent years, the Mexican government has taken significant steps to strengthen its refugee and asylum policies, aiming to enhance its capacity to process claims efficiently, ensure fair adjudication and provide humanitarian assistance. In addition, Mexico has actively collaborated with international organisations and non-governmental organisations to support and protect refugees and asylum seekers.
Enhancing capacity for efficient processing
Recognising the urgent need to process asylum claims efficiently, Mexico has made efforts to expand its capacity and streamline procedures, including the following.
Fair and timely adjudication
To ensure fair and timely adjudication of asylum claims, Mexico has implemented various measures, including the following.
Collaboration with international organisations and non-governmental organisations
Mexico has actively collaborated with international organisations and non-governmental organisations to strengthen its refugee and asylum policies, as follows.
Mexico's commitment to strengthening its refugee and asylum policies is commendable. By expanding its capacity for efficient processing, ensuring fair adjudication and collaborating with international organisations and non-governmental organisations, Mexico aims to provide protection and support to those seeking refuge from persecution and violence. These efforts contribute to a more robust and compassionate approach to addressing the needs of refugees and asylum seekers, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and humanitarian society.
In recent years, Mexico has emerged as a prime destination for businesses looking to expand globally and tap into new markets. A crucial factor contributing to Mexico's attractiveness as a business hub is its robust corporate immigration policies, which play a vital role in attracting international talent and fostering economic growth in the country. Mexico is becoming one of the best countries for doing business and attracting international talent for the following reasons, among others.
A gateway to the Americas
Situated at the crossroads of North and South America, Mexico serves as a gateway to both regions, making it an ideal location for companies seeking to access markets on both continents. The country's proximity to the United States, Canada and major Latin American economies offers businesses unparalleled opportunities for trade and investment. To leverage this advantage effectively, Mexico has developed a corporate immigration framework that facilitates the seamless entry and stay of international talent.
Highly skilled workforce
Mexico boasts a talented and diverse workforce that attracts businesses from various sectors. Corporate immigration policies in the country are designed to attract highly skilled professionals who can contribute to economic development and technological advancement. The government has implemented programmes such as the Temporary Resident Visa, which allows foreign professionals to work and live in Mexico for extended periods, promoting knowledge transfer and fostering innovation within local industries.
Favourable business environment
Mexico has made significant strides in creating a favourable business environment for foreign investors. The country offers a range of incentives and support programmes, including streamlined immigration procedures, to facilitate the entry and establishment of foreign companies. The National Immigration Institute (INM) has introduced initiatives like the Pro-INMEX programme, which provides expedited visa processing for companies that invest in certain sectors or regions, encouraging foreign businesses to set up operations in Mexico.
Global talent acquisition
In today's globalised economy, businesses are constantly seeking ways to enhance their competitiveness and innovation capabilities. One significant factor that contributes to this is the ability to attract top international talent. In the context of Mexico, the country's corporate immigration policies play a crucial role in enabling businesses to recruit skilled professionals from around the world. By simplifying the immigration process and offering work permits to foreign employees, Mexico has positioned itself as an attractive destination for companies aiming to build a talented and diverse workforce. This article explores the advantages and strategic implications of global talent acquisition in Mexico.
Economic growth and entrepreneurship
The inflow of international talent through corporate immigration has a direct impact on Mexico's economic growth. Immigrants often bring unique perspectives, experiences and skills that contribute to business expansion, job creation and the development of local industries. Furthermore, immigrants often possess entrepreneurial spirit and establish their own businesses, driving innovation and diversification in the economy. Mexico recognises the value of entrepreneurship and has implemented specific visa programmes, such as the Entrepreneur Visa, to attract foreign entrepreneurs and encourage start-up activity in the country.
Corporate immigration plays a pivotal role in shaping Mexico's business landscape and attracting international talent to the country. With favourable immigration policies, a strategic geographical location, a skilled workforce and a supportive business environment, Mexico has become a compelling destination for businesses looking to expand their operations in the Americas. By embracing corporate immigration and leveraging the talents of international professionals, Mexico is poised to continue its upward trajectory as a hub for business, innovation and economic growth in the region.
It is important to note that the above scenario represents the current state of Mexico's immigration environment based on current trends and potential developments. Actual circumstances may differ and are subject to various political, economic and social factors.