Fostering Development Opportunities in Nicaragua

An estimated 15 percent of Nicaraguan families have relatives living abroad. Neighbouring Costa Rica is a main destination. 350,000 Nicaraguans live there, making up 8 per cent of the population.

This Nicaraguan population in Costa Rica faces a number of difficulties. Many do not have legal papers and are not registered in the social security system. In some cases, their workforce is under-utilized.

"This project contributes to the understanding of the migration-development nexus in a South–South context. Furthermore, aimed at fostering development opportunities in both countries, it has a comprehensive approach covering areas related to remittances, social cohesion and migration management, among others."
-- Jorge Peraza-Breedy, Project Coordinator, IOM Costa Rica

Key Objectives

The key objectives of this project are:

  • Enhance the contribution of migration movements to the development of Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
  • Improve social conditions and economic growth in both countries, in areas where migration is high.

These will be achieved by:

  • Managing the flow of Nicaraguan temporary workers to Costa Rica.
  • Favouring conditions for their inclusion in labour markets.
  • Promoting their integration with local communities.
  • Promoting their social integration.


  • Nicaraguan migrants in Costa Rica
  • Migrant-sending areas in Nicaragua
  • Government migration and labour institutions in both countries
  • Civil society organizations working with and for migrant populations

Concrete Benefits

  • Regulated migration of temporary/seasonal workers from Nicaragua to Costa Rica
  • Better conditions for migrants to enter the labour market
  • Improved economic and psychosocial conditions of migrants and their families
  • Social integration and social cohesion of migrants
  • Financial services for migrants who send remittances

Principal Activities

  • Enhance the services of the Migration Office in Nicaragua to speed up the processing of documents. Create a “single window" at the Ministry of Labour and Migration office to speed up migration procedures in migrant-sending locations.
  • Develop and strengthen the means of exchanging information among pertinent authorities on migration matters in both countries (within and between countries).
  • Strengthen the skills, knowledge and resources of Nicaraguan Consulates in Costa Rica to protect their nationals.
  • Hold information and awareness campaigns in both countries aimed at employers, labour unions, migrant workers and the general public.
  • Organize border services in Costa Rica to immediately check temporary workers upon their arrival and departure. This includes setting up a Costa Rican Consulate in Rivas, Nicaragua.
  • Strengthen the skills, knowledge and resources of the Costa Rican Migration Directorate to document Nicaraguan migrants, as a means to guarantee their access to social services.