Mexican migrant workers vs. US visa process

Mexican migrant workers challenged the US visa process under the Mexico-United States-Canada Agreement (USMCA), with the result included in this text.

This case was condensed in a US congressional analysis as follows.

The first USMCA labour complaint was filed by a binational coalition of civil society organisations, two Mexican migrant women and the Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM), a non-profit organisation that defends the rights of migrant workers.

The complaint was filed against the United States for alleged gender discrimination against Mexican migrant women workers in the recruitment and hiring processes for agricultural jobs in the United States.

CDM filed the complaint with the Mexican Ministry of Labour requesting the Mexican government to initiate state-to-state litigation against the United States.

In summary, the complaint alleged that women applying for visas in the United States are being disproportionately channelled into H2B work visas rather than H2A agricultural visas, which does not allow them access to higher-paying jobs in agriculture.

Migrant workers

The complaint alleges that the US is failing to implement Article 23.7 on violence against workers in Chapter 23 of the USMCA, which protects workers to «exercise their labour rights in a climate free of violence, threats and intimidation.»

In June 2021, the complainants met with the U.S. and Mexican governments in separate meetings to discuss the complaints.

Then, on 17 January 2023, the United States and Mexico signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Labour Mobility and Protection of Participants in Temporary Foreign Worker Programmes.

The MOU aims to promote fair hiring and decent work, strengthen bilateral cooperation on temporary work visa programmes, explore ways to support labour mobility options, and enable the flow of information on workers’ rights, protections, and remedies.


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