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.
Departamento de Guatemala, Guatemala
Departamento de Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Departamento de San Miguel, El Salvador 
Departamento de Usulutan, El Salvador 
Departamento de La Paz, El Salvador
Departamento de San Salvador, El Salvador
Departamento de Santa Ana, El Salvador
Project duration
2018 - 2024

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 - 2020

  • 313 returning migrants obtained a certificate for their skills in the construction and tourism sectors.
  • 79% of certified returnees were successfully inserted into the labour market and 144 new jobs were created.
  • 156 returning migrants benefit from job placement and 136 from soft skills courses.
  • 59 returnees were accompanied on their way to becoming self-employed entrepreneurs.
  • Launch of the awareness campaign #YoNoDiscrimino

Financing partners

This project is financed by Green Leaves Education Foundation, among other donors. As part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, it is co-financed by SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA).


Bolivia, Peru, El Salvador
Upskilling and reskilling, Labour market insertion
Overcoming the Covid-19 crisis in Latin America – How projects have adapted to meet challenges during the pandemic
Innovative solutions are essential to meet the challenges during the Covid-19 crisis. Three examples from Latin America show how the projects Swisscontact implements have adapted to the new circumstances and demonstrated resilience in the face of the pandemic. In El Salvador, complementary carpentry training for returning migrants is being adapted to the new market conditions. Master builders in Peru are developing digital skills in order to improve safety during construction projects. In Bolivia, mechanical engineers designed and developed a respiratory assistance device for families in rural parts of the country.
El Salvador
Entrepreneurial ecosystems, Labour market insertion
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. Cities pass by as if they did not exist; it is the need for survival that dictates the pace. After 15 days on the road, "home" seems far away; it gets smaller all the time. It is stubborn hope that drives this odyssey forward, the sore feet make one more effort. It seems that on this trip half the body is buried and the other half is walking.

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