Mexico City, Mexico — Under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), the Mexican government announced Thursday that 153 Mexican farmers traveled to Canada to work in agriculture-related activities.
Government officials foresee that 26,000 Mexicans will be joining the Canadian agrarian workforce in 2023.
The program, which started in 1974, allows Canadian employers to hire temporary foreign workers from Mexico and Caribbean countries when their national workforce is shorthanded.
Through a joint statement, Mexico’s Foreign and Labor Ministries announced that the 153 laborers are joining over 2,500 Mexican workers who arrived in Canada earlier this year to start the eight-month season.
“Today, 153 agricultural workers traveled to Canada, adding to the more than 2,500 who arrived in recent days. By the 2023 season, the number of workers hired by more than 2,000 companies is expected to reach 26,000,” the statement read.
The Undersecretary of Employment and Labor Productivity, Labor Ministry (STPS), Marath Bolaños López, said that over 2,000 Canadian companies have requested around 17,000 workers.
In the statement, the Mexican ambassador to Canada, Carlos Manuel Joaquín González, emphasized that the embassy will be attentive to the labor rights of the Mexicans assigned to the program.
“We open the embassy’s doors so that your human rights are respected and you return home safely,” he said.
According to the Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (F.A.R.M.S), a Canadian non-profit that facilitates processing requests for seasonal workers, the current wage for SAWP laborers is fixed at CA $15.83 an hour.
According to the Mexican government, in 2022, CA $375 million dollars were sent to Mexico through remittances. During that period, 25,669 Mexican workers migrated under the SAWP program.
In November 2022, the Mexican and Canadian governments held the 48th intergovernmental meeting on the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program in Mexico.
During the meeting, both delegations announced that they were working to increase the number of workers traveling to Canada during the 2023 season.
In addition, the Canadian side underscored that Mexico contributes the largest number of workers to Canada’s agricultural sector.
Early this year, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met in Mexico during the 10th North American Leaders’ Summit. Both leaders discussed the SAWP program to secure orderly and legal migration to Canada.
“I want to thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his extraordinary and fraternal program, which consists of granting temporary work visas to day laborers, workers. This program already benefits 25,000 men and women, 25,000 Mexicans. This is a pathway to follow, that of orderly migration. Prime Minister Trudeau is a great ally of Mexico,” said López Obrador.