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Latin American migrants with informal jobs hinder their integration

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Migrants in Latin America are more likely to work in informal jobs despite higher qualifications than native workers, hampering their integration, a joint report by three international organizations found on Friday.

More than 50% of migrants in the region are likely to find informal employment, according to research by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

This trend has been registered in at least half of the 12 countries analysed.

Migrants tend to get more temporary contracts and longer shifts, working 50 hours or more per week, than native workers, with 45% of them working informally on average, the report said.

The poor quality of jobs migrants find shows that they are not taking advantage of the opportunities that migration can bring to these countries, the report said.

It noted that in the past 10 years, only Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the Dominican Republic have implemented special permits and visas to regulate the situation of immigrants.

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Migrant women tend to be more educated than migrant men, the report said, but added that “the share of working-age male migrants in employment exceeds that of migrant women by more than 27 percentage points.”

Mexico is the country with the second lowest percentage of migrants relative to the total population, with about 66% born in the United States and most of them children of Mexican citizens who returned to the Latin American country.

However, Mexico is home to the precarious smuggling of migrants bound for the United States, which has ended in notable tragedies in recent years.

(Reporting by Marion Giraldo; Writing by Carolina Pulice; Editing by Diane Craft)

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