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IMSS to Affiliate 25,000 Guatemalans

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 05/09/2022 - 15:49

During his tour of Central America, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed with Guatemalan counterpart Alejandro Giammattei to provide medical care to 25,000 Guatemalans through the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS). The agreement will benefit Guatemalan citizens who currently work in Chiapas, Tabasco and Campeche and enter Mexico using the border worker card issued by the National Institute of Migration (INM), explained Director General of IMSS Zoé Robledo.

On May 5, the IMSS's office in Tapachula, Chiapas, had registered two border workers, who had a Mexican Unique Population Registry Code (CURP). These workers are “employees of a Mexican company established in Chiapas," said Robledo.

The recent agreement has precedent in the Resolution 35 on "Social Security of migrant workers who work in neighboring countries,” approved 71 years ago by the Inter-American Conference on Social Security (CISS), said Robledo. It is yet unclear how the general savings and refund mechanisms will work for the Guatemalans working in Chiapas.

An International Labor Organization (ILO) study found that 70 out of 120 countries (58 per cent) have national laws with provisions granting equality of treatment between national and non-nationals with regards to contributory social security for all branches except access to health care.

In Mexico, foreign individuals working in the country and their employers are subject to social security contributions and housing fund contributions in accordance with income, except when an exemption is available under the terms of a social security totalization agreement. Canada and Spain have agreements in Mexico through which their nationals working in the Latin American country can always receive social security.

Historically, contributions made under the Mexico social security system to the state pension funds (AFOREs) and the worker´s housing fund (INFONAVIT) have only been refundable to foreign individuals when they reach retirement age, currently 65 years old. However, a recent court decision in Mexico City opened the door for foreign individuals leaving Mexico to refund part of their social security contributions relating to pension and housing. The appeal court decision is a binding precedent only within Mexico City, but appeal courts in other jurisdictions within Mexico may follow the same criteria.

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Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst