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Hiring foreigners in Mexico under the Migration Act

By Mónica López Medina, Local Delegate, INM in Leon, Guanajuato.

If you have a business and want to hire foreigners or if you are foreigner and wish to work in Mexico, it is important to familiarize yourself with the Mexican immigration rules currently in force. Until 2012 the General Population Act (Ley General de Migración) offered the possibility of changing immigration status of foreign tourists who wanted to work in Mexico. Since November 2012, however, the new Immigration Law sets different rules for hiring foreigners in Mexico.

The following is an overview of the rules:

1. Every employer who seeks to hire a foreigner must request a “constancia de inscripción de empleador” (certificate of employer registration) before the National Migration Institute.

2. The employer, by himself or through his or her legal representative, must request a “visa por oferta de empleo” (visa for job offering) from the National Migration Institute. This visa is independent of the foreigner’s visa required for to travel to Mexico. The visa for job offering must be granted by the National Migration Institute but issued at the Consulate of Mexico abroad.

3. If the contractual period exceeds 180 days, the foreigner must apply for the exchange of the FMM form provided on arrival in Mexico for a temporary resident card within 30 calendar days of entry into Mexico. This procedure can be handled with any delegation of the National Migration Institute in the state where he/she has established residence.

A visa is not required for a job offer in the following cases:

1. For business people who are not employed directly by a company incorporated in Mexico and who travel to Mexico to attend work meetings, perform supervisory duties on behalf of a foreign company, or provide technical services under agreements to transfer technology or train staff on behalf of a foreign company. (In such cases, the arrival in Mexico from abroad is documented with the FMM form, which will be marked by the immigration authorities as visitor status without permission to perform gainful activity, designating the option “business” as purpose of stay.)

2. For a temporary visitor, there is a maximum stay of 180 days. Business people may enter Mexico without a visa if there is no visa requirement for their nationality. If a visa is required, it must be requested at any Consulate of Mexico abroad.

For information on immigration procedures and a list for citizens of countries that require visas to enter Mexico, refer to the page


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