Project New Possibilities: certifying technical vocational training for returning migrants

According to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center, there are 1,827,000 immigrants from El Salvador living in the United States. At 3%, they constitute the fourth-largest Hispanic population group. According to that report, Salvadoran immigrants are the group with the lowest level of education among all Hispanics. Only 24% have completed secondary school and 20% are living in poverty. According to the Directorate General of Migration and Immigrant Rights, 52,560 Salvadoran expatriates returned to El Salvador in 2016, most from Mexico (59.6%) and the United States (40.1%). In addition to being stigmatised due to their emigration, migrants face even greater challenges after returning home: they have not earned any professional experience during their years working in the USA or Mexico, nor have they developed any skills during that time abroad which they could apply at home. Given that labour market integration is extremely difficult for these people, they often try to go back to the USA again or look for other sources of income. This search is often unproductive and is frequently against the law.


To improve the quality of life for people returning to El Salvador from the USA and Mexico by facilitating their integration into the job market.

The Project

The project focuses on certifying the skills of returnees. This will be achieved through the following activities:

  1. Selection of beneficiaries
  2. Training testers for certifying beneficiaries.
  3. Testing beneficiaries in accordance with the Salvadoran Technical Labour Competency Standards (NTCL) of the Salvadoran Vocational Training Institute (INSAFORP). This can produce two possible outcomes: first, the beneficiary passes the exam and receives a certificate. Second, if the beneficiary does not pass the exam, he or she can attend a skills development course offered by INSAFORP and be retested, hopefully then earning their certificate.
  4. Certification of beneficiaries.


  1. Decreasing cultural stigmatisation of returnees.
  2. Training 11 testers who can evaluate the skills of construction workers
  3. Professional skills testing of 30 returnees in the construction

    sector working in the following areas: sheet-rock processing and ceramic


  4. Certifying at least 10 tested returnees
  5. At least 10 returnees will be working in companies that are members

    of the Salvadoran Chamber of the Construction Industry (CASALCO)

  6. Improvement of the family environment for returnees through enhanced

    personal satisfaction due to their reintegration into society as

    productive contributors to the national economy.


Impact of the project

  • 18 certified returning migrants working in the construction sector.


  • 32 returning migrants access services to assess their labour skills.
  • 31 certified returnees: 13 in the installation of ceramic flooring, 18 in the installation of wall systems

Project partner

  • Instituto Salvadoreño de Formación Profesional (INSAFORP)
  • Cámara salvadoreña de la industria de la construcción (CASALCO)
  • Instituto Salvadoreño del Migrante (INSAMI)

Project countries

  • El Salvador

Project links

Project duration

July 2016 – August 2017


  • Embassy of Switzerland in El Salvador

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97