Hiring foreign employees in Mexico: what you need to know
Article 3 minute read

Hiring foreign employees in Mexico: what you need to know

28 February 2019

For businesses that are looking to expand or have already started operations in Mexico, there are some complexities surrounding the process of hiring foreign employees.

The Federal Labour Law in Mexico requires at least 90 percent of an employer’s workforce to be Mexican nationals, allowing only 10% as foreigners. However, there can be an exception for companies if they can explain why the foreigner is being hired and also use that person to train other workers. Businesses in Mexico must understand the rules surrounding the visa process in order to be compliant. 

Visas in Mexico

For a foreigner to work in Mexico, a visa must be obtained through the National Institute of Migration (INM, in Spanish). There are two types of visas, a temporary visitor visa that comes with permission to perform business activities or a temporary resident visa, which can be acquired through a job offer from a company established in Mexico. The foreign person receives an offer of employment which will, among other requirements, imply that he is being hired to work in the country.

Businesses who intend to hire a foreigner to work in Mexico must first have the Employer's Certificate of Registration (Regulation of the Migration Law, Article 166) issued by the INM. This document enables the company to hire foreigners who have received a job offer. The certificate is valid for one year and the process takes about one month to complete.

A foreigner in the country has the rights granted to him by his or her residence status and also all human rights. If he or she does not have temporary visitor status with permission to work or temporary resident status through a job offer, he or she will be in breach of the law and may be subject to administrative sanctions or, where appropriate, deportation.

In order to obtain the working visa, the foreigner or a legal representative for the business must submit the following to the INM:

  • certificate of registration;
  • certificate of Incorporation of the company;
  • the proxy and an ID of the legal representative;
  • proof of address of the legal person; 
  • job offer duly signed by the company; 

The work visa provided by the INM grants the foreigner a Unique Population Registry Code (CURP, in Spanish), which is an essential requirement in order to obtain the Federal Taxpayers Registry. The company will then register the new foreign employee at the Mexican Institute of Social Security which will give the foreigner authorization tobe enrolled in the company´s payroll and access to national health services and other benefits.

Refugees as workers 

People that are in the country for humanitarian reasons may have more rights than tourists but still need to obtain authorization from the INM to work in Mexico. When they arrive in Mexico, they must request INM to be granted the status of refugee, which will provide them legal residency in Mexico.

If a refugee wants to begin working in Mexico, they can open their own business (complying with all requirements) or obtain a working status when they find someone who is interested in hiring her or him. They must then complete the process to get their working permit. 

TMF Mexico can help your business 

TMF Mexico can help you with all aspects of starting a business and hiring employees, both local and foreign. We know how to help you avoid the bureaucratic burden of the incorporation process and can provide administrative support to companies, such as the incorporation of an entity, administrative legal compliance, representation and domiciliation services, HR and payroll services and accounting and tax compliance services.

Do you have plans to expand to Mexico? Contact us to learn how we can help you with your business and compliance operations.

Written by

Dunia Salomon

IEM Manager Legal Administrative Services, Mexico

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