Immigration in Guatemala

According to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) “Key Migration Terms,” immigration is “a process by which non-nationals move into a country for the purpose of settlement.”

In our case, Guatemala is an attractive destination for foreigners of various nationalities that wish to resettle in the country, but it is also a very important passageway when it comes to migrants.  In fact, it shows one of the highest rates of irregular migration to North America.   

Immigration must have special relevance in Guatemala because this process is a major generator of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), making up the economic and social development in the country.  According to data from the IOM, 76,000 immigrants entered Guatemala in 2015.  Between the Central American countries mentioned: about 19,000 people from El Salvador, 8,500 from Nicaragua, and 8,300 from Honduras. The other numbers of immigrants worth mentioning came from other countries such as: 17,450 people from Mexico, 8,600 from the United States, 1,700 from South Korea, 1,300 from Spain, and 1,100 from Colombia. 

In relation to this immigration phenomenon, our country must count on a migrant policy that will facilitate and create legal certainty for foreigners wishing to settle here; given the fact the current process is deficient and exhausting.  Currently there are several projects in process to reform the Guatemalan migration legislation, where the issue of immigration regulation is expected to receive special attention. 

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