Some 13,000 Mexican migrant workers are owed $6.5 million in unpaid wages, according to a tweet from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, which announced a joint effort with Mexico to locate and compensate the workers.
“This program will return millions of dollars in back wages to Mexican nationals who participated in US temporary foreign worker programs,” tweeted Ken Salazar, the United States Ambassador to Mexico, on Tuesday.
The Mexican ministry and the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs is launching the H-2A Workers’ Wages Recovery Program to ensure the workers can collect their compensation, Salazar added.
Skilled foreign farm workers are the backbone of US agriculture and are often in the US on H-2A seasonal visas. It is unclear who these workers were employed by when they failed to receive their full wages, and what years they were employed.
The money owed to these thousands of workers was recovered by the US Department of Labor after it failed to locate the individuals in order to deliver their checks, according to a press release from Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.
The partnership will attempt to locate the migrant workers who are believed to have “received less than the legally established salary from their employers in the United States,” according to a press release by Mexico’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.
The US is expected to send Mexico a list with names of workers who are “owed wages and overtime.” Mexico will then look up the workers in government databases and inform them of their checks.
“Together, we watch over labor rights,” tweeted Luisa Alcalde, Mexico’s Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, on Tuesday.