Nuevas Oportunidades: Productive Reintegration of Returning Migrants

The project seeks the productive reintegration of returning migrants through the introduction of certification of competences in El Salvador and eventually in the whole Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras). Thousands of migrants are forced every year to return to their home countries. Back in their country in the northern triangle, many returning migrants face difficulties. Although the vast majority of the returnees have no criminal background, the deportees are perceived as criminals by their fellow citizens and have difficulty integrating into the labour market. At the same time, these practically experienced skilled workers bear great potential for the labour market, as there is a demand for qualified workers in growing economic sectors such as construction and tourism.
El Salvador
Project duration
2018 - 2020
Financed by
  • Avina Foundation
  • Medicor Foundation
  • City of Zurich, Finance Department
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC
  • Donations

The project

The project aims to provide at least 500 returning migrants with access to various services that increase their chances of recruitment. This includes, on the one hand, the establishment of an evaluation process and the certification of the professional skills of returning migrants in the construction and tourism sector. Existing services (job placement, development of entrepreneurial skills of returning migrants) will also be improved. The potential for certification of competencies is high, and pilot activities are being carried out to extend the reach to Guatemala and Honduras.

Since returning migrants have no access to financing mechanisms, the project will pilot the involvement of diaspora organisations that support returning migrants in setting up their own businesses. The certification of the skills of returning migrants is a cost-effective way to meet the need of skilled workers in the construction and tourism sector and at the same time create income opportunities for returning migrants. Recognition of skills acquired abroad facilitates the productive reintegration of returning migrants into the labour market and at the same time increases the competitiveness of the economic sectors concerned.


Results 2018 - 2019

  • 283 returning migrants obtained a certificate for their skills in the construction and tourism sectors.
  • 82% of certified returnees were successfully inserted into the labour market and 50 new jobs were created.
  • 125 returning migrants benefit from job placement and 100 from soft skills courses.
  • 100 returnees were accompanied on their way to becoming self-employed entrepreneurs.
  • Launch of the awareness campaign #YoNoDiscrimino


El Salvador
The Way Back Home
In the distance, you can see a distorted silhouette with steady and fast movements. The backpack sways from side to side, following the body movement. In it is a single change of clothes, a bottle of water and some cans to stave off hunger.