workers from Panama, carry baskets of ripe coffee up a steep hill at Ricardo Calderón Madrigal’s farm in Costa Rica. Photo from erikajschultz.com
workers from Panama, carry baskets of ripe coffee up a steep hill at Ricardo Calderón Madrigal’s farm in Costa Rica. Photo from erikajschultz.com

QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica wants, needs agricultural workers and as such will again be suspending fines for illegal migrant workers who come to the country temporarily for the crop picking season.

The government said it will in the coming days publish the suspension of any fines  to agricultural companies for having illegal workers, effective as of January 1.

This is the fifth suspension given since 2013.

The announcement was made separately by Luis Felipe Arauz, head of the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG) – Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, and Carmen Muñoz, deputy minister of Gobernación (Deputy Minister of the Interior) which oversees the country’s immigration service, the Dirección General de Migración.

Employers with illegal workers face a fine of between two and twelve minimum salaries (¢798,800 to ¢4.8 million).

But businesses in the agricultural sector have a special immigration status for their workers, called “harvesters” (“cosecheros” in Spanish), that applies to all temporary migrant workers in the collection of coffee, melon, mango, orange, pineapple and other seasonal products and the harvesting of short cane.

However, the fines remain in place for illegal workers in constructions, security, domestics (maids), etc., according to the government.

Arauz said the suspensions will continue until a permanent solution is found. Muñoz added that there be a balance between the urgency of migrant workers for harvesting crops and the need to regulate, immigration wise, the foreign workers.

Source: La Nacion


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